BATON ROUGE, La. — In the last 15 months, LSU senior linebacker Corey Thompson‘s football life has been pretty busy.
He changed positions. He’s dealt with a new head coach and a new defensive coordinator. He’s watched as his team went from a preseason national title contender to an afterthought back to a contender and back to a footnote.
And, oh yeah, he hasn’t played a game.
“I’m good,” Thompson said. “Finally.”
A standout 4-star safety out of Missouri City, Texas, Thompson came to LSU and played his first four seasons as a defensive back. But upon Dave Aranda’s arrival in Baton Rouge last spring, Thompson made the transition to F linebacker, or a hybrid linebacker who roams the wide side of the field (hence the F) with an emphasis on coverage, albeit closer to the line of scrimmage and with pass rush responsibilities.
With a year of learning the system under him, Thompson stepped in as LSU’s starting F-backer this spring. On an inexperienced defense returning only three starters this spring, the man his teammates have affectionately nicknamed “Uncle Corey” serves as a wizened presence among a mixed batch of veterans starting for the first time and youngsters fighting for jobs.
As the oldest player on LSU’s roster who came to the Tigers out of high school, Thompson learned a thing or two in his six years in purple and gold. And it’s that knowledge that keeps him motivated to make his last season his best yet.
“Your maturity level definitely goes up over the years,” Thompson said. “My preparation has changed. My mindset has changed. I feel like it’s all for the better.”
Old man and the LSU D
Back in 2015, the most recent time Thompson played, he started three games at safety, making 15 tackles. But in those days he was competing with Jamal Adams and Rickey Jefferson for playing time in a loaded secondary that also included Tre’Davious White, Jalen Mills and current teammates Donte Jackson and Kevin Tolliver.
Now Thompson stands alone as the presumed starter in a position group where he is backed up by fellow position shifters M.J. Patterson and Devin Voorhies.
So what does Thompson have to do to ensure he retains these starting looks and stays strong until the season begins in September?
Follow the company line, of course.
“I have to keep making sure I go out there every day and work hard and make sure I do what I’m supposed to do and execute and make plays like I know how to.”