MORGANTOWN - Jordan Thompson knows defensive backs and linebackers are licking their chops when his diminutive body steps onto the field.
Listed as 5-feet-7 and weighing 164 pounds, Thompson knows he does not possess the stereotypical body of a Division I football player. That being said, he also knows he possesses more speed than the stereotypical Division I football player.
"They want to get a clean shot at me to see how tough I am," Thompson said. "A couple of guys got a good hit on me, and I responded by just hopping right back up. They are out there trying to tear my head off. They see my size, so they try to run straight through me."
A freshman who enrolled at West Virginia University in January, Thompson is a leg up on his fellow receivers. Coach Dana Holgorsen, who refers to Thompson as "Squirt," has taken notice of the Katy, Texas, native. Thompson figures to be starting at one of the outside receiver slots this fall.
"Jordan Thompson is playing at a very high level," Holgorsen said. "He took that spot and ran with it."
With just a semester of classes under his belt, Thompson has already received a very important educational building block try to avoid getting hit.
"Tavon (Austin) is talking to me about not taking that many shots," Thompson said. "It's going to take a toll on your body. I haven't mastered it like he has, but I am getting better. You have to be quick and you have to be quicker. Making sure they don't touch you is the key."
Despite being from halfway across the United States, Thompson instantly took a liking to West Virginia. When he came to visit, he was shown around by another Texan, running back Dustin Garrison. Like Thompson, Garrison arrived in Morgantown a bit undersized. But Garrison quickly burst into the starting lineup and was the team's leading rusher as a freshman. The pair also had another connection, one that Garrison won't likely let Thompson forget any time soon.
Garrison's Pearland High School team bested Thompson's team in the 2010 state football championship.
"You have to give (Dustin) credit," Thompson said. "He has the ring, and I don't."
Another thing that led Thompson to Morgantown was that WVU was the only major college to offer Thompson a chance to play football. That has become a huge chip on his shoulders.
"A lot of people wouldn't give me the chance," he said. "I'm out to prove everybody was wrong. West Virginia gave me a chance, and I'm out there trying to prove to them that they didn't make a mistake."