Trenton Thompson isn't seeking the spotlight.
A young man that's charismatic, shy, of few words and immensely talented at football, Thompson was considered the highlight of Georgia's recruiting class this past February. A five-star prospect out of Westover High School in Albany, Thompson terrorized offensive lines and quarterbacks with his ability to routinely get into opposing backfields.
Thompson began garnering college attention as a sophomore, which was when Georgia offered him his first scholarship.
The accolades and attention naturally followed, and it would be easy for Thompson to brag and boast that most analysts considered him among the best in the nation at his position, if not the best. But praise isn't something Thompson seems interested in.
Sure, each young athlete enjoys the attention that comes with being considered the best. But Thompson said time and again that he cares more about what transpires on the football field. "When you get here everything starts over," Thompson said. "That five-star (ranking) means nothing. You're competing against the best to get better."
Thompson opened preseason practice with the second team, which essentially secures a spot for him in Georgia's defensive line rotation. He'll certainly have every opportunity at being a starter based on the game inexperience up front.
The Bulldogs, under defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, rotate their defensive linemen quite a bit to keep bodies fresh.
With three defensive tackles graduating after last season, a big opportunity opened for Thompson to earn some playing time as a true freshman. At least through the media, both Pruitt and head coach Mark Richt have tried to downplay the expectations for their star recruit.
But that doesn't mean they won't be there when the season kicks off.
"Trent's a lot like the other guys -- very talented guys that when they're fresh and they know what to do they're very good," Richt said. "When they're tired and uncertain they look like freshmen.
But, Richt added, "Trent, we were on the right track when we recruited him."
Richt said Thompson can play both defensive end and defensive tackle, giving the Bulldogs options in various packages to use him.
And Thompson's not the kind of pre-Pruitt defensive tackle previous big guys John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers were -- massive 350-pounders that occupied blockers up front. Thompson is a more agile and quick defender that uses his speed and strength to power through offensive fronts.
Despite the physical attributes Thompson possesses as a 19-year-old freshman, Georgia seems intent on seeing more out of him before placing a ton of responsibility on him.
"I don't think when they flip the coin they are going to ask him what he was ranked last year," Pruitt said. "He's kind of one of those guys, and we've already talked to him about it to prep him about it, all we want him to do is get better every day. Focus on that."
On Wednesday, during Thompson's first meeting with the media this preseason, Thompson answered each football-related question similarly.
Whether it was the fact that he needed to "keep grinding," "give effort" or "work hard" in practice, it was clear and to the point each time Thompson spoke.
He's in Athens to play football for Georgia, not for Trenton Thompson.
"I'm just here to learn, get a degree and that's it. I'm not here to just talk about myself," Thompson said. "It's a whole team. Georgia is going to be here forever. I'm just here to represent Georgia."
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