05/04/10 — Thompson signs with Battling Bishops

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Thompson signs with Battling Bishops

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 4, 2010 1:47 PM

PRINCETON -- All Wesley Thompson needed was one look at Mark Henninger's USA South conference championship ring.

Henninger, the head football coach at North Carolina Wesleyan, visited Thompson in hopes of persuading the Princeton offensive lineman/linebacker to play for the Battling Bishops.

While Henninger's description of the program was convincing, it was his ring that did the real talking.

"The coach from Wesleyan came by and he talked to me about the program a little bit," said Thompson. "Plus, he had one of those big rings on. I liked that. That was one of the big reasons that made me go there."

Wesleyan finished 8-3 in 2009 including a 7-0 mark in conference play. Slated to play linebacker at the next level, Thompson joins a Bishops' defense that surrendered 28 points a game.

Also a member of Princeton's track team, Thompson received a full academic scholarship to Wesleyan.

"I really like what they have going on with their defense," said Thompson. "They run a 3-5 so that really interested me. I went and talked to the coaches and they treated me nice there."

A three-year varsity player, Thompson helped Princeton to a 10-4 record last season and a trip to the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A (small-school) football playoffs.

He tallied 12 tackles in a win over North Johnston and 11 stops in a victory over North Moore. The Bulldogs gave up 14 points or less seven times in 2009.

"I can't say enough about Wesley," said Princeton head coach Russell Williamson. "He worked hard and committed himself to the weight room. It's unbelievable how much faster and stronger he got. The one thing about our defense is they would hit you when they got out there.

"We were probably as aggressive with our defense as we've been since I've been here."

Thompson joins teammates Matt Williamson (Randolph-Macon) and Patrick Jacobs (Methodist) as the third member of Princeton's senior class to sign with a Division III school.

"This is great for our school and our community to have this to happen," said Williamson. "We won 10 games and right now we've got three kids going to school. Hopefully we're showing the improvement we've made. It doesn't hurt to have good players.

"I think all of them that are going are deserving."