Garrison, Thompson bonded as high school opponents
Published: Friday, August 24, 2012
Updated: Friday, August 24, 2012 06:08
Overlooked, undersized and undervalued are all words describing West Virginia’s sophomore running back Dustin Garrison and freshman inside receiver Jordan Thompson before they stepped on campus in Morgantown.
Garrison was an all-state standout at Pearland High School, Texas, and the Houston Area Offensive as Player of the Year, in addition to being named the 2010 Houston Touchdown Club Offensive Player of the Year. He was offered by only four other schools. With two of the four being FCS programs, Garrison was left behind by any big-time programs.
"He was undersized; not many colleges looked at him even though he had a great season. He was the Player of the Year in Texas his senior year. I played against him," Thompson said. "I knew he was good, but he didn’t have offers."
Thompson, who was tabbed a top-100 area recruit by the Houston Chronicle didn’t have a single offer, either. Despite being named District 5A Special Teams Player of the Year, Thompson’s size was still a problem.
Two similar stories ended up crossing paths in the 2010 Texas 5A Division 2 state quarterfinals when Garrison’s Pearland Oilers met Thompson’s Katy Tigers.
With the glory that comes with being just two victories away from playing in a Texas High School state championship at Dallas Cowboys Stadium, the two teams battled. Thompson caught two passes for 41 yards. On the other hand, Garrison led the Oilers to a 38-35 victory – he ran for 104 yards and caught two passes for 17 yards, scoring two touchdowns.
Garrison and Pearland ended up winning the state title a couple weeks later.
Inside the WVU locker room, Garrison and Thompson laugh about that game.
"I mess with him all the time. I let him hold my ring a little bit – my state championship ring, I let him wear my state championship shirt, I joke with him and he laughs at me," Garrison said.
Since that semifinal matchup almost two years ago, Garrison established himself as the Mountaineers’ top running back, including a record-breaking game in 2011 against Bowling Green when he rushed for 291 yards in his first career start. More importantly, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen assigned Garrison to be Thompson’s host on a recruiting trip.
"Me and Dustin came from Texas; we have very similar stories," Thompson said. "Me and him were talking one on one. Then I realized he started as a freshman, he’s undersized, (and) we’re both small."
Garrison made a huge impact on Thompson. Garrison explained the differences to Thompson while he was in Morgantown on his visit.
"I let him know that it’s different from Houston, but at the same time you’ll like it here. The fan support is just like it is back home, and you’re just going to like it here," Garrison said.
Now, after a huge spring, Thompson will join Garrison as a starter. At WVU in Holgorsen’s offense, both undersized guys can succeed.
"We’re proving the schools that didn’t give us the chance wrong," Thompson said.