Dorian Thompson-Robinson from Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) is ranked among the top 50 prospects in the Class of 2018 and the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback. He will announce his college destination on Sunday between Michigan and UCLA. His mother, Dr. Melva Thompson-Robinson, is a professor at UNLV, the director for the Center for Health Disparities Research, and the Social and Behavioral Health Program Coordinator. She got a window into football recruiting through her son and is sharing her thoughts about the process and more with USA TODAY Sports. Here is the first edition of her diary.
I can honestly say I never imagined I’d be asked to write a personal diary for USA TODAY over my son. But here I am putting together a series of blogs about my son, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, and how his recruitment process has been since he helped lead Bishop Gorman to its third straight Super 25 national championship, after the Gaels won their eighth straight state championship in Nevada.
As the recruiting process, winds down, I can honestly say that I’m kind of glad I won’t have to talk to people as much. I laugh as I type this, so please to all the wonderful coaches who have been so gracious, don’t be offended. I told Coach (Jim) Harbaugh from Michigan that I’m not a people person. I do it because I must; but if I didn’t have to do all the interactions, I would be okay with it.
Coach (Jim) Mora from UCLA told me we could talk every week, and I was thinking ‘Coach, I don’t even talk to my mom every week and we live five minutes apart.’ Especially at this level, I mean, with his high school coaches, our interaction has been at a minimum. When I visit, I ask my questions, but outside that, I just assumed I was just an observer.
You must understand, even though my son is in the center of all this, it’s not my world. I didn’t realize how big this was becoming until recently. It’s really been kind of funny, because I don’t think of him as this big-time football recruit, a game-changer or a program changer for a football program. He’s still my son and I still get in his butt about things. If I need him to take out the trash, he’s going to take the trash out – things like that.
My focus with him has always been school first, and then with his football, making sure he is prepared for the next step. When he can, I want to make sure he is making time for his quarterback coach, checking in with his workouts and even checking his weight and finding out how much he is lifting each week. All these accolades and people speculating where he is going to go and the fan clubs, that still blows me away, because I don’t really see that.
Here we are now, where I know it’s finally going to come to an end. I do realize there will still be coaches asking me why he didn’t choose their school – because I still get that from time to time – as they wonder what they could have done differently, so I know that will go on for a couple of weeks. But I’m hoping my time of talking to coaches and interacting with coaches goes back down to a minimum.
I guess I didn’t realize until December just how big this was going to be. One day I was on Twitter and something told me to go through my account, and I noticed there were college coaches who were following me. I started following them back, and within minutes I was getting DMs from people. All these coaches wanted to talk to me.
Then things really kind of exploded in January. See, in December, for coaches, either they’re focused on their bowl games, or their trying to do visits with Class of 2017 kids. So, in January it really kind of exploded. I didn’t really pay attention at first, until I pulled up at school one day to drop Dorian off. It was 7:30 in the morning and school doesn’t even start until 8:00, and he received a text message to come to the ATC (Athletic Training Center) because there’s a coach there waiting for him. I knew there were coaches coming by at practice, but come to find out, coaches are coming by, calling during the day and it got to the point I had to put some limits on things.
It wasn’t just about Dorian, either, as they were coming to see a lot of the kids, although my son was a prime target. With Dorian, I had to put some limits and request they not come before school and don’t come during school – you want to talk to him, do it after school.
They also have what they call Gael Period, during which the kids can go to their teachers for extra help or to catch up on assignments. So, I said as long as his assignments were done, he could talk to coaches. But if he doesn’t have stuff done and needs time with his teachers, then I don’t want him having those distractions. At first Dorian was a little concerned, but I told him: “Here’s the bottom line, as far as I’m concerned, if they’re not going to respect you now, I know when you go to these schools, those coaches won’t respect you then.”
I know he felt a lot of the pressure from the college coaches coming in, wanting to see him, and wanting him to throw. But also, I knew the Gorman coaches were feeling it. In January, more than 40 coaches came through Bishop Gorman just to look at and talk to kids, including Dorian. It really seemed to have exploded in January.
Then the college coaches went into their dead period in February, and they couldn’t visit players. So, he started getting text messages, direct messages, and private messages. Even for me, I was getting text messages from coaches who wanted to talk to me, whether it was quarterback coaches or head coaches. And I had to start scheduling when I could take phone calls.
Things got pretty hectic.
At the first 7 on 7 tournament, which was in Los Angeles, he did really well. From there it just got bigger. There was some video of him playing that went viral, and suddenly analysts and reporters and scouts were saying he would be a game changer. He actually picked up additional offers after coaches began seeing the videos of him making throws. Things exploded very fast.
I guess I really started seeing that at the Pylon tournament in Las Vegas, when they had to bring security over to the fields they were playing on, because everybody was packed around the fields trying to watch them play. I was there to watch some good football, and watch my son play as good as I know he can play and make sure he’s leading his team the way he should be. Then I saw it wasn’t just coaches or recruiters, Dorian had himself a fanbase and there were a lot more people who know of my son than I realized.
This spring is the most he’s played consistently at QB since his freshman year. So, I always tell people I want him to play as well as we all believe and know he can play. I tell him all the time to go out there and do what you know how to do and do what you’re supposed to do. It is good to see him taking the reins, watching him now with his progressions and his reads and making sure he’s doing those things. It’s good to see where the time and the effort have come in and have done well for him.