The Detroit News is counting down the top 15 players on its list of Blue Chip football recruits. Today: No. 9 Tyriq Thompson of Detroit King.
Tyriq Thompson could deliver a hit and take one too, helping Detroit King earn a PSL championship game appearance.
Thompson, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound linebacker, used his 4.6 speed to chase down quarterbacks and deliver big hits on running backs.
When pressed into duty as a running back due to injuries, Thompson delivered with 205 yards on 18 carries in a win over Collegiate Prep, also returning an interception for a TD in the same game.
Now, Thompson has moved on to Michigan State, enrolling early to get a jump on the competition. He plans to get stronger and faster for spring practice so he has the chance to challenge for playing time in the fall.
"With the amount of talent we had we felt we could win the state title, so that was disappointing, but I still had a lot of fun with my teammates," said Thompson.
King began the season with eight straight wins but lost to Cass Tech in the PSL title game and to Southfield in the state playoff opener.
Thompson said the game against Collegiate Prep was the highlight of his senior campaign.
"It was definitely a highlight, especially since most linebackers don't get to touch the ball -- and I had a lot of carries that game and was able to do something once I got the ball, too," Thompson said. "It was definitely memorable."
Thompson, rated four stars by Scout.com and three stars by Rivals.com, had 72 tackles and 10.5 sacks in 2014.
"I think my strengths are the intensity I play the game with and my football IQ -- the way I can read and react on defense," Thompson said.
Thompson is elite in the classroom, as well, and earned a 4.4 grade-point average at King. He plans to major in journalism and broadcasting at MSU.
Thompson picked the Spartans even though his father, Clarence Thompson, played defensive back for Michigan from 1993-95.
"Michigan wasn't the right fit for me; I didn't get the vibe that I got at Michigan State, which just felt like home to me," Tyriq said. "He (Clarence) was OK with it because he knew that it was my decision to make and he knew that I was confident in my decision, so he was proud."
Thompson isn't worried that defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi left to become head coach at Pittsburgh.
"They sold me on their defensive system and it's been amazingly consistent," Thompson said. "I think it's so important how Coach Dantonio is keeping the continuity of it by making Coach Barnett and Coach Tressel co-defensive coordinators. I think by keeping the same system in place we'll continue to be really successful in the future."
BLUE CHIP COUNTDOWN
No. 9 Tyriq Thompson, Detroit King (Michigan State)
No. 10 Grant Perry, Birmingham Brother Rice (Northwestern)
No. 11 Dior Johnson, Southfield (Wake Forest)
No. 12 Alex Grace, Saginaw Swan Valley (Western Michigan)
No. 13 John Keenoy, East Kentwood (Western Michigan)
No. 14 Cole Chewins, Clarkston (Michigan State)
No. 15 Mike Danna, Warren De La Salle (Central Michigan)