PEMBROKE — Leading into high school football practice starting on July 31, The Robesonian’s sports reporter Jonathan Bym is publishing a countdown of the top 15 players in Robeson County, and Purnell Swett’s Al’Drique Thompson comes in at No. 8 on the list.
In a conference loaded with talented tailbacks, Purnell Swett coach Jon Sherman doesn’t want his senior running back to be lost behind the clout of the likes of Scotland’s Zamir White and Syheam McQueen.
“I expect for Al’Drique to compete for conference Player of the Year in rushing,” the third-year coach said. “I know we’ve got two of the best running backs in the state on one team right now, but I’m telling you right now I expect Al’Drique to compete at a high level and have at least 1,500 yards rushing.”
With his coach’s faith behind him, Thompson is ready to take on his final year for the Rams knowing that he has a lot of uncharted waters ahead of him that he can still embark on.
“There ain’t much that I have done before,” Thompson said. “The sky is the limit, basically.”
As a junior splitting time in the backfield with a pair of other running backs, Thompson flirted with 1,000 yards rushing while also tallying a 11 touchdowns.
“Al’Drique did a good job of running the ball for us last year,” Sherman said. “What he does real well is he’s a tough runner and he doesn’t take plays off.”
Now with an experienced offense around him, he wants more.
“I think I’m coming into this year with a good line and a good quarterback beside me,” Thompson said. “I think we can actually do something this year because we have got a bunch of seniors that actually care about wanting to win.”
Thompson’s desire to succeed more this season has bled over into his preparation this summer. The work ethic this summer also comes from knowing that he took the hard work in the offseason for granted one year ago.
“I’m getting stronger and faster and more physical,” Thompson said. “I’ve been working hard. I came in this year with a different mindset. Last year, I was slacking and behind, but this year I’ve came in with a different mindset to work hard, be positive and be a leader.”
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.