By Scott Nickerson
On December 18, 2019, Prattville Lions Senior Tight End Taylor Thompson signed a football scholarship with the Charlotte 49ers from Conference USA. The signing took place at Prattville High School during the early signing period of college football.
The early signing period is held for a three-day period in December the week before Christmas.
During that three-day period, high school seniors can sign Letters of Intent with colleges that offer scholarships. The early signing period is a recent change to the college football recruiting world. The more traditional signing period that begins in February will be when the majority of local high school students with the opportunity to play college football will sign their LOIs.
Thompson’s signing with the 49ers will be recognized at that time, when he is surrounded by friends and teammates that are making their college destinations known.
The 6’2”, 215-pound tight end is hoping to make an impact for the 49ers much like he did while he played for the Lions. Thompson was a matchup problem for defenses, being too big and strong for corners attempting to guard him, and too fast for linebackers. Thompson produced a big senior season for the Lions, catching 54 passes for 815 yards and 5 touchdowns, and helping Prattville win a Class 7A playoff game for the first time since the 2014 season.
Thompson’s decision came down to Troy and Charlotte, where he officially visited before making his final decision. He also unofficially visited Memphis, Tulane, UAB, Middle Tennessee, and Louisville, but ultimately his decision was made based on the feeling that he got from being on campus, and the relationship forged with the Charlotte coaching staff.
Coach Maxwell Thurmond (Special Teams Coordinator and Linebackers Coach) treated my family like we were his family. He’s very funny! I’m excited to play for Head Coach Will Healy, Tight Ends Coach Cody Woodiel, and the entire coaching staff.”
The Charlotte 49ers fielded a football team for the first time in 2013. Current Head Coach Will Healy’s first season was in 2019. In his first season, Healy led the 49ers to a record of 7-6 and the school’s first ever appearance in a bowl game, falling to Buffalo in the Bahamas Bowl. Thompson and his family are hopeful that Healy has the football program headed in right direction, and that Taylor will get an opportunity to play in bowl games in the coming years.
The 49ers open the 2020 football season on the road at Neyland Stadium against the University of Tennessee. “My goal my freshmen year is to start and to help the team make a bowl game again. I will always give 110% on the field. I’ll strive to make good grades and find a new church home in Charlotte.”
Thompson will live on campus in a dorm with three other football players. He plans to report to Charlotte in June 2020.