|« Barksdale Heads to UT-Martin||Racers Announce 2009 Football Schedule »|
Area Standouts Taylor, Thompson Ink with Tennessee-Martin
Two were offensive catalysts for Ritter, Riverview.
The University of Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks have had so much success with the last offensive playmaker they signed from a St. Louis high school, that they inked two local standouts this time around.
Cardinal Ritter’s star all-purpose back Maurice Taylor and Riverview Gardens all-conference receiver Chris Thompson became the latest area recruits to sign with the Skyhawks program last week on national signing day.
They will join current star receiver and former Soldan High graduate Roren Thomas, who had 42 receptions for 790 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior this past season, after leading the club in receiving yards with 553 on 39 catches as a sophomore.T homas played a part in helping sell the Skyhawks program to the players.
“He (Thomas) was my host when I visited,” said Taylor of Thomas, who starred as an all-conference option quarterback at Soldan.
Meanwhile, Thompson said he had communicated with Thomas via e-mail through ‘Facebook.’
“He (Thomas) said it was a good place with a nice, friendly family atmosphere where you can get a lot of (academic) work done without distractions,” relayed Thompson.
On the field, the two recruits bring impressive credentials to the Skyhawks: Taylor was the catalyst behind the Lions posting a 13-2 mark and a first-ever berth in the Class 3 state championship final, before losing to Cassville.
Taylor, who is 5-foot-8, 165 pounds, was the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Player of the Year after scoring 27 touchdowns while rushing for 1,077 yards, amassing 787 yards in kick returns and 340 yards in receptions. Defensively, Taylor had 49 solo tackles with seven interceptions for good measure. He will be initially listed as a kick returner and “athlete” at UT-Martin.
Thompson likewise was an offensive catalyst for Riverview Gardens. The 5-11, 180-pound wideout snared 49 passes for 968 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Rams, who went just 5-5 but managed upsets of eventual Class 5 state champions Hazelwood East and vastly improved Hazelwood West in the Suburban North Conference. He’ll remain a receiver.
“I know we played in one of the toughest conferences in the state, so that’s prepared me for the next level,” said Thompson.
Thompson, who will major in secondary education, said the fact that the Skyhawks have a youthful yet mature group of coaches also impressed him.
“The coaching staff is young but they’re wise and smart,” said Thompson. “They really know what they want in a player. They made me understand the real news of recruiting. Even if I wasn’t going to that school, they have told me things which would be valuable in recruiting and life.”
Taylor liked the staff’s approach as well.
“I liked the way they recruited me,” said Taylor, who plans to major in graphic design. “They seem to run a real professional program, plus they have what I want academically.”
In addition to Roren Thomas, the Skyhawks area players on the current roster are defensive end Joshua Cody (Lutheran North) and defensive back Dante Harrold (Affton). Southeast Missouri and Eastern Illinois are among the schools which are members of the Ohio Valley Conference.
As for some of the current Cardinal Ritter seniors are concerned, linebacker Dominique Newton (5-9, 160), who led the club with 125 tackles and seven sacks, will likely go to Missouri Valley College in Marshall as a safety, while quarterback-defensive back Calvin Mooney (5-9, 170) will likely go to Illinois College in Jacksonville, Ill. But several of the Lions players will return for their senior and junior seasons.
“That’s the good thing,” said Ritter coach Brian Simmons “We got the job done with a lot of juniors and sophomores.”
Area standouts Taylor, Thompson ink with Tennessee-Martin
By Lonnel Cole, The St. Louis Suburban Journals