Jordan Thompson is beginning to make an impact for Rutgers football

·3 min read

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Through two games this season, Rutgers defensive end Jordan Thompson has certainly shown gains. The former standout at Parsippany Hills has worked his way into the rotation at defensive line following a redshirt season in 2021.

Coming out of high school, Thompson played both tight end and defensive end for Parsippany Hills (Parsippany, N.J.) where he was a top 10 recruit in the state for the class of 2021. He was a first-team All-Group III selection as a senior but despite the accolades, Rutgers was his only Power Five offer.

Thompson played in two games a season ago but since spring practice has shown considerable growth and confidence in his ability off the edge. At 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, the former Morris County standout certainly looks the part of a defensive end in the Big Ten.

Sports, and in particular college athletics, runs in the Thompson family. His mother ran track in the 1990s at Rutgers and his father was a defensive back in college at New Hampshire. He remembers being a child and his father would teach him about playing defensive back, Thompson laughingly saying that despite this insight into the position he has no interest in switching to the secondary.

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And his mother, a former student-athlete at Rutgers, got involved in training her son.

“She did help me out a little bit when I was younger,” Thompson said on Wednesday following practice.

“She had me run a lot outside of the school and all around. I was going to run track, but COVID hit so I just didn’t do it. But at one point I was.”

Those bloodlines, coupled with gains in the weight room (he has added 15 pounds of muscle since his days at Parsippany Hills) as well as a growing comfort in the defense, have led Thompson to have a significant role in the Rutgers defense to start this season. In the season-opening win at Boston College, he had a tackle and a pass defended. Last week, Thompson had three tackles in a blowout of Wagner.

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He has earned the trust of Marquise Watson, the new defensive line coach at Rutgers who joined the program this offseason. This belief has translated into his ability to step on the field and begin to make his presence felt in the Rutgers two-deep.

“It does make me feel a little more confident,” Thompson said.

“The biggest thing for me is Coach Watson – he brought my confidence a lot higher than was before and then every time I make a play, it just gets me higher and higher up…but my main thing is just the coaching staff, my friends, my teammates around me for just keeping my confidence up.”

Rutgers (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) will play at Temple (1-1, 0-0 AAC) on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia, PA). It is the final out-of-conference game for Rutgers ahead of the start of the Big Ten season.

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With a win, Rutgers will have started the schedule with three straight wins for consecutive seasons.

For Rutgers news and information, follow Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer

Story originally appeared on Rutgers Wire