Nebraska stands behind injured recruit Thompkins

Grayson running back Ronald Thompkins was barely to the sidelines last Saturday after sustaining a major knee injury, when he was asking the question to one of his coaches.

“Is Nebraska going to drop me?”

Kenyatta Watson, Grayson's recruiting coordinator, didn’t know for sure, but based on every experience he had had working with Sean Beckton over the last few years, and the time he spent getting to know both running backs coach Ryan Held and head coach Scott Frost, he would’ve been surprised if the Huskers decided to move on from Thompkins after a second year shortened by an ACL tear.

Turns out Nebraska was already watching the televised game and already reached out while the game was going on to let Watson know where things stood.

“Basically, as it happened Nebraska was watching, after the game ended I got a call from Coach Beckton and he was like, ‘You know coach no matter how bad it is we’re going to keep Ronald. You let him know he’s got nothing to worry about,’” Watson said. “I spoke with coach Beckton. I spoke with coach Held. I spoke with coach Frost. Our head coach reached out and spoke to all of them as well. Nebraska was adamant.”

The calls, conversations and encouragement were a big relief to Thompkins, who has already moved beyond suffering a second ACL tear in as many seasons.

“He’s obviously disappointed, but at the end of the day, I’ve talked with him and the Good Lord doesn’t make mistakes, you’d rather have an ACL than be paralyzed. You just never know,” Watson said. “He’s fine. Spirits are good. He’s blessed. I’m glad it wasn’t some other school that he was committed to.”

While Watson wasn’t worried about Nebraska the coach admitted that unfortunately guys get dropped because of injuries so teams can have flexibility with numbers or so the staff doesn’t feel like it has to take a chance on a rehabilitation.

While he stopped well short of saying it, Watson believes if a school plays games with his players it’ll only hurt them in the long run.

“It’s kind of a situation where I’m super protective of our kids, and as long as I’m here recruiting and you screw one of our kids over, that’s just not going to sit well with us,” he said. “It’s not his fault he got hurt. I don’t agree with any school dropping a kid for any reason other than if it’s trouble or academics. He gave his commitment. You accept it. Good, bad or indifferent, you should roll with the commitment. At the end of the day we are men, so how can we pay it forward and teach kids that your word should mean something if we can’t demonstrate something as well?”

Watson said he never doubted Nebraska would remain with Thompkins, particularly with how the Huskers chased hard in the recruitment this summer, and the type of people he feels he’s gotten to know through the staff.

“I’m unbelievably impressed with Frost,” he said. “I was never worried, man. I know those guys. I’ve been dealing with them for a long time. I know them as people. I was never worried that they were going to drop him. Ever.”

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