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SHS's Thompson is ready to go for Auburn

     For Josh Thompson, the last four years have certainly been memorable ones. Now, the senior noseguard is ready to enter his final season with the Auburn football team and hopes 2007 won’t be any different.

    “We feel real good about (2007),” said the Statesboro native and former SHS Blue Devil. “We’ve been working hard, we’ve got a lot of players back on defense and we’ve got a real positive outlook.”

    But Thompson and the Tigers haven’t been the big story in the state of Alabama this offseason. That’s gone too AU’s main rival from Tuscaloosa, where Nick Saban has taken the reins of the Crimson Tide program.

    “We’re looking forward (to facing Saban),” said Thompson. “Our defensive coordinator (Will Muschamp) worked with him at LSU and at Miami (Dolphins). He’s a great coach and he’s going to do good things for their program. We look forward to playing him and hopefully we’ll add another win to the five in a row.”

    Beating Alabama for five straight years is certainly on the top of the list of memories for Thompson (having been a part of four of those wins), but one game stands out amongst the others for the 6-foot, 300-pound lineman.

    “The Sugar Bowl when we played Virginia Tech (in 2004),” Thompson recalled. “That was a huge game. We were 12-0 going into that game and finished up with a perfect season. That’s gotta be the biggest game for sure.”

    Thompson isn’t positive what the future holds for him. He needs one class to graduate this fall, but as luck would have it that one class comes in conflict with the football practice schedule and is only offered during the fall semester. Thus, Thompson is working towards a minor and waiting to see how his NFL prospects shape up.

    “The NFL’s is looking good. We got the camps and Pro-day and the combine,” he said. “We’ll see how that goes — you just never know. The noseguard that played before me, T.J. Jackson, is with Atlanta now and he’s made a name for himself. So hopefully if I can get my name out there I’ll have a good chance of going.”

    Thompson was redshirted his first year at Auburn before making an immediate impact as a freshman in 2004. He’s received the Eddie Welch Attitude and Effort Award, Pat Dye Leadership Award for the defense and the Most Improved Defensive Lineman Award over his four-year career. He’s totaled 64 tackles, 51⁄2 tackles for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery in 35 games for the Tigers.

    A former state champion with SHS in 2001, Thompson said he tries to keep up with SHS as much as possible, even attending spring practice just last month.

    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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