GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Running back Bentavious Thompson visited UF on Monday with a carload of South Florida recruits.
But this trip wasn’t simply a joy ride with his high school teammates from Miami Southridge. Thompson came to Gainesville to give the Gators a serious look after receiving an offer from them last week.
“I really wanted to check out Florida and see how the school is,” Thompson said. “I liked what I saw. Now I really want to take an official visit up here so I can get to know the school better.”
Thompson spent time with running backs coach Tim Skipper and paid close attention to his coaching style during Monday’s practice.
“I like the tempo of the offense and how fast they talk, communicate and move,” Thompson said. “I was just looking at all of the backs to see how they run the ball and what kind of strengths they have. I feel like I’m a good fit in their system.”
The 5-foot-11, 186-pounder has been committed to Miami for 13 months, but Florida is a school he’s always had his eye on. He grew up in a house divided.
“I’ve liked Florida since I was a kid,” Thompson said. “My dad was a Florida fan and my mom’s side of the family was all Miami. So I kind of cheered for both schools.”
UF isn’t the only SEC program Thompson has interest in. He received offers from LSU and Tennessee over the past two months and wants to visit both schools soon.
“I don’t know much about other places because I’ve been committed to Miami,” Thompson said. “I haven’t visited anywhere outside of Florida. So I want to see what else is out there.”
Despite his desire to look around, Thompson claims his pledge to the Hurricanes is strong.
“It’s 100 percent,” he said. “My heart is at Miami, but my options are kind of open still with other schools. But right now, I’m staying with Miami.”
The deciding factor for Thompson is early playing time, and he thinks he’ll be able to make an immediate impact with the Hurricanes.
“I’m looking at how many backs they’re going to take in my class and how many backs will already be on the team when I get there,” Thompson said. “I want to get on the field my first year and play right away.”
The highlight of Thompson’s trip to Florida was meeting with Gators coach Jim McElwain, who told the three-star tailback he’ll have an opportunity as a freshman.
“I talked to coach Mac and he showed real interest in me,” Thompson said. “He’s been watching my film and he really likes me. He was saying I’d be able to play if I made the decision to come to his school. He would like to see me in a Gator uniform.”