Trieu: ‘Explosive’ Isaac Thompson has family ties to Michigan State but others beckon

Allen Trieu
Special to Detroit News

St. Louis (Mo.) University safety Isaac Thompson is only going into his junior season, but 28 schools have offered him scholarships. With all of that attention and the uncertainty surrounding recruiting and when in-person visits will be able to take place again, Thompson might look to narrow his list down soon.

When the field is narrowed, there is a good chance Michigan State will be a part of that.

Of all the school on the list, he may have had the earliest experiences with the Spartans. His father, Hickey Thompson played for Michigan State in the mid-1990s and brought his sons back to campus after his playing days were done.

Isaac Thompson

So when Michigan State offered a scholarship in April, even though he already held a number of Power Five offers, it was still a meaningful moment.

“Oh man, it was so good,” Hickey said. “I think he was more excited than I was. He said, ‘Dad, I’ve been waiting on that. I really love the campus and I can really see myself at Michigan State.’ For me, I’m like, ‘Have your own road and pick wherever want to go even though me and guys up there are still tight.’”

Former Northwestern running back Stephen Simmons has trained Thompson at Konquered Balance in St. Louis. After the initial shock of the rigorous nature of the training, Thompson adjusted, bought in, and Simmons could see why so many schools were pounding down his door.

“He is ready for college football right now,” Simmons said. “Athletically, he is blessed, that is undeniable. His size, the way he can move at that size – he’s added 35 pounds since he started training with me, so he is bigger and faster. I can’t wait to see what he looks like at 18 and then again at 20. Then he has the work ethic and the access to training that we didn’t have. The technology is better, the information is better, but he could step on a college campus right now as a 15-16 year old.”

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Having a dad to guide him through the recruiting process is something Isaac has that Hickey did not. It was him and his mom. At Belleville (Ill.) Althoff Catholic, the elder Thompson was a record-setting running back who had quite a few scholarship opportunities himself, but he found a local connection on the Spartan staff.

“Bobby Williams is from St. Louis, Sumner High School, and he was coaching running backs at Michigan State,” Hickey recalls. “He recruited me at Althoff so we had a good relationship and I went on up there. At the end it was Indiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma State and Michigan State, those were my top schools. I still love it up there. I took Isaac and my oldest boy up there over the years.”

While Thompson would finish his career at Illinois State, he routinely returned to East Lansing for homecoming. And whether or not his son chooses Michigan State, he plans to take Mel Tucker up on his open invitation to football alums, one of whom is now on staff and among those recruiting Isaac.

Hickey Thompson played at Michigan State in the 1990s.

“I talked to Courtney Hawkins,” Hickey said. “Courtney was coming out as I was coming in. He was real excited about the program. I haven’t talked to Coach Tucker yet, but Courtney said he was opening it up to all the alumni guys that came through there. The other group wasn’t as lenient with reaching out to older guys.”

Another school Isaac likes a lot is Michigan. It was admittedly an odd moment for his father, but ultimately, he still wants his son to make his own decision.

“That was weird for me,” Hickey admitted. “But Isaac doesn’t know how it is with Michigan and Michigan State, that whole thing, so I stood back and let him talk to Coach Harbaugh and Coach Shoop. I want him to walk his walk and like what he likes and tell him what I feel, but at the end of the day, he has to be there for four years whether it’s at Michigan, Michigan State, wherever, I’ll support him. He really likes Michigan, though, for whatever reason.”

Penn State, Florida, Iowa, Missouri and LSU are some of the other schools that have offered and are in contact. Whoever ends up with Thompson will get a prospect who is physically and mentally ready for the college game, and with two more years of high school development to go.

“He is explosive,” Simmons said. “Athletically, he can move in ways others can’t. He has natural balance and we worked on controlling his explosion. He works at it. He sees the work brings success. He comes in and doesn’t contest anything, doesn’t ask a lot of questions and he dials in, so I’m excited to see him progress.”

Thompson is rated a four-star prospect and ranked No. 126 overall in the country by 247Sports.

In-state receiver offered

Tayshawn Trent, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound junior-to-be from Eastpointe, was offered a scholarship by Michigan State.

The Spartans now join Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and more on his list.

Trent had 20 receptions for 498 yards, with 11 of those 20 receptions going for touchdowns last fall.

Fast-rising offensive tackle offered

Dayton (Ohio) Huber Heights Wayne offensive lineman Aamil Wagner was offered by Michigan State.

Wagner was one of the biggest risers in the new 247Sports rankings for 2022 class, going from a three-star to now a top-100 prospect in the country.

Penn State, Oregon, Kentucky and others have offered. The Wildcats have his brother Ahmad on the roster as a tight end.

Michigan State has regularly recruited Wayne High School over the years. Jerel Worthy is among the notable athletic alums along with Travis Trice on the basketball court.

More information

Isaac Thompson profile 

Tayshawn Trent profile 

Aamil Wagner profile 

Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at