The D Zone

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

3 Dream Teams, All-State, Team Captain, and a 3.8 gpa but no scholarship offers from any College or University? How a kid gets lost in the recruiting process in MI and how not to let it happen to you!

Fenton 2017 OL Reid Thompson is a senior offensive lineman from Fenton, MI and is preparing to leave for the Blue-Grey All-American game next week in Jacksonville, Florida to play on ESPN. The D Zone has covered Reid since he was a sophomore and placed him on our All-Michigan Team two years in a row as one of the best offensive lineman in the state of Michigan.  This year, we have him as the #24th best in the state of Michigan.   Take one look at his highlight tape and you'll see why we thought so.

This year alone, Reid had 91 pancake blocks, didn't allow a sack and didn't have a penalty called on him. He was named to the Detroit News Dream Team (only 22 players in the state get named to the Dream Team). He was named to the Detroit Free Press Dream Team. The Flint Journal named him to their Offensive Dream Team.  He was first team All-State in USA Today and 2nd Team All State by the Associated Press.

Reid Thompson has a 3.8 gpa, he was a finalist for Homecoming King for his high school and is a Team Captain. In short, here's a great kid. Smart. No character issues. Leadership. And, one hell of a football player.

So the question is, how is it early January - when 132 kids have already been offered full or partial scholarships across Michigan - and a kid like this has no offers for a scholarship from any College or University? The answer isn't an easy one - but it's the truth and something we are trying to help change at the D Zone. The answer? Frame and getting exposure.


A college Coach who would like to remain anonymous had this to say about Thompson, “3 inches taller and the kid would be a five star recruit.” Reid has excellent footwork. His hand placement is near perfect. He plays with a mean streak. He is a tremendous trap blocker, drive blocks well and his pass blocking is near text book. Watch any of his one on ones at camps and you would be hard pressed to see anybody getting around him. But the problem is Reid Thompson is only 6 feet tall. “He's a tweener,” the Coach says. Division 1 or Division 2.

Yes, the prize of the The University of Washington, a PAC-10 school is a right guard who is 6'1” and 270 (Nick Harris). And, yes, Jack Allen was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy as the best offensive center in the nation at MSU – and he was between 6'1” and 6'2."  But these players are found fewer and fewer these days. It seems schools look at frame size - potential. They figure they can make guys bigger, stronger, faster and coach them up – but they can't make them taller or their arms any longer. Right or wrong – it's the truth. “It can be done,” says the Coach. “But, the kid has to be special and the Coach has to know the kid inside and out. Thompson has gotten every last ounce out of the frame he has – but that just won't be enough for some schools unless they know him really, really well - and we just don't know that much about him.”

So it's important kids get to show their talents to as many coaches as they can BEFORE their senior year. Coaches need to see kids in person to see how they play so kids can overcome any questions when it comes to frame or arm length or strength or speed.

Reid Thompson didn't do that.


The D Zone works hard to try and get exposure for kids all over Michigan. We work with the Legacy Center to cover events where 50 Coaches will come out to see kids – in person – and watch them exhibit their skills. We work their summer camp tour where we hit Colleges and Universities throughout Michigan and the midwest in order to get kids exposure to college coaches. Exposure is why we're here.

Everyone knows these camps can cost money and Reid Thompson's family is middle class – they didn't have a lot of money for these camps so they didn't send Reid. Financial issues meant he couldn't get to a lot of the one day camps we recommend at the Big Ten, MAC and Division 2 schools across Michigan last year.  This past summer, he rolled his ankle and couldn't get to any camps at all to show his skills. So, entering into his senior season – many hadn't heard of Reid Thompson before. Then, after they did, they may have dismissed him simply because of his height. Yet, here we are in early January and with all this hardware – Reid sits without an offer. We think that is a shame.

Reid's family tells us he has been offered preferred walk-ons to several MAC schools and is awaiting word on scholarships from two Division 1 and three or four Division 2 schools. “They say he's on the bubble,” Reid's Dad tells us.  "But no calls yet."

When we spoke to Reid he was more matter of fact,“I'm just going to keep playing hard and making myself available to anyone who calls. Nearly everyone I'm playing with at the Blue Grey has Division 1 offers in power five conferences so when I hold my own there - I think that will open some eyes.  I have a couple of favorites when it comes to schools – but earning a scholarship is really important to me. I told my high school Coach when I first met him I wanted to be one of the best lineman to ever come out of our program and I did it. I'm telling college coaches the same thing. Don't bet against me.”

We won't bet against him. We saw Reid play in person several times these last two years and can say whichever college gets a player of Reid's caliber – they're going to be very happy they did. We're pulling for Reid to get that college scholarship offer because he's earned it as much as anyone else who have already received one.

Learning from mistakes

Not all kids are D1 material. For some it may be their frame, for some it may be their strength or speed. But, there's a home for every player that commits themselves to their craft at the next level. It may be D2 or D3 but there's a place. You may have to walk-on and earn your spot. But there's a home. But Reid Thompson's story should teach every high school player something. You have to get exposure to show what you can do. You have to meet coaches and develop relationships.  Ever hear the saying, “If a tree falls is the forest when no one is around, does it make a sound?” It doesn't matter how good you are if no one sees you or doesn't know you.

So this spring and summer, commit yourself to getting to as many camps as possible. During the season – send us your Varsity highlight film. Don't get to the end of your senior season and not have the relationships in place to leverage your skills into a college offer.

If a player of Reid Thompson's caliber with Dream Teams, All-State credentials, an All-American game while maintaining a 3.8 gpa and being the team captain hasn't translated into an offer for him yet...think it can't happen to you?

In the meantime, join us in pulling for Reid and many of the other kids like him who - through no fault of their own - just haven't gotten that call yet.  Especially when they've earned it.

If you'd like to learn more or need help with the recruiting process – contact us or we can help point you in the right direction. Your future is determined NOW. Don't wait. Work.


  1. Kid is a straight up beast. Somebody best snatch him up yo.

  2. Gotta be one of my favorite highlight reels for a lineman ever.

  3. Watched him go up against Hudson from Western who is going to Purdue and held his own. If he can stand up against Big Ten talent - should be no brainer for MAC or GLIAC.

  4. All dreams or visions that carry messages that contradicts the Bible are not from God, even if they came with miracles.