Florida junior college transfer running back Mark Thompson figures to play a role in the Gators’ backfield this season. How effective he will be remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain, he is big.
“That’s an SEC back right there,” Florida coach Jim McElwain said Thursday. “He looks the part. Now we’ll find out when we get pads on. I did even notice today when he was hitting a couple inside zones and hitting a cutback, the guy that was kind of coming down questioned (himself) a little bit. He could see a little bigger body there.”
At 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, Thompson certainly presents a daunting task for would-be tacklers. It is rare to see running backs that size, but one of Thompson’s teammates, linebacker Jarrad Davis, brought up a familiar name when asked if he could think of any runners with a similar stature.
“Maybe one, Derrick Henry,” Davis said. “Mark Thompson, I like the way he carries himself around the building. … That guy, I feel like he’s going to be special. I’m really excited to see what he’s going to do.”
Last season’s Heisman Trophy winner is a good player to be compared to. Henry is listed on the Alabama website at 6-foot-3, 242 pounds. The former Crimson Tide back routinely used his size to trample opposing defenders on his way to 2,219 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns.
This is not to say Thompson is the next Derrick Henry, but if he is anything close, McElwain and the Gators will certainly be pleased.