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Alabama Targets From Thompson's 48-35 Victory Over Spain Park

Notes on Alabama targets from Friday's Thompson/Spain Park matchup that resulted in a 48-35 win for the Warriors
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HOOVER, Ala. — The reigning AHSAA 7A state champion, Thompson High School, had to fight off a late 4th-quarter scare on Friday night to defeat Spain Park, 48-35. 

Coach Mark Freeman's Warriors program is turning into a stockpile of Division 1 talent, and this year is certainly no different. 

Starting with Thompson's defensive line, 2022 University of Alabama commit, defensive end Jeremiah Alexander and 2023 prospect Peter Woods, who holds multiple SEC offers including one from the Crimson Tide, lead the way. 

In the Warriors' secondary, another name Alabama fans should hold on to, is 2023 cornerback Tony Mitchell, who Alabama, Tennessee, LSU, Florida, Georgia, and Michigan, among others who have extended a scholarship his way. 

"Playing with those guys motivates me to get better," Woods said. "It feels good to know I have people around me I can trust. Not just those guys, but everyone on my team, so we can all get better together."

On Friday night, after Spain Park jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a 60-yard catch and run from wide receiver Cooper Kelley, the Thompson defense began to settle in for the most part, forcing three-and-outs on the Jaguars' next two possessions, which allowed the Warriors to take a 20-7 advantage.

Unfortunately, the Crimson Tide pledge, Alexander, had to leave the game after halftime due to a cut sustained in the game that needed stitches. But however, when he was in action, it is so easy to see why the Spain Park offense avoided his side of the line of scrimmage, directing run plays in the opposite direction.

The 6-foot-2, 235 pound prospect's athleticism was on full display in the first two quarters. Spain Park's right tackle had a tough time blocking him all night as Alexander had a couple tackles, one tackle for loss, and batted a pass down at the line. 

While listed as a defensive end, Alexander also plays inside and outside linebacker at times for the Warriors and he had no trouble covering the speedy Jaguars running backs in space, when he would drop back. 

The bottom line is, as a 2022 prospect, there is still a long way to go in his recruitment and Alabama will have to do a stellar job closing the deal with Alexander. If he continues to have a junior season like his sophomore year, that saw 119 total tackles, 25 tackles for loss, nine sacks, and one pick six, then SEC programs like Georgia and LSU, who the Crimson Tide beat out earlier this year for his commitment, could come calling back around. 

Woods, who is only a sophomore, looks and plays the part of an SEC-caliber athlete. Just like his teammate Alexander, he is a violent rusher who can penetrate through opposing offensive lines. He was able to record one sack of Jaguars signal caller Bennett Meredith on the evening. 

"I talk to a lot of the defensive coaches like coach Sal [Sunseri], coach [Freddie] Roach, and coach [Karl] Scott," Woods said of his relationship with the Crimson Tide. "They show a lot of love."

On offense, Thompson quarterback Conner Harrell, another Warriors junior, threw for 410 yards and three touchdowns, completing 19 of 29 passes with only one interception. 

The 6-foot-1, 190 pound prospect showed some elusiveness, rushing seven times for 58 yards and two additional scores as well. His playmaking ability could see some Division 1 offers pour in when its all said and done. 

Warriors running back and 2022 prospect Brandon Franklin was on a mission in the first half, rushing for 96 yards on only nine carries, before suffering an knee injury that caused him to exit the game and not return. 

Franklin visited Tuscaloosa with Woods, Alexander, and Mitchell, back in March before COVID-19 shut down in-person recruiting. 

South Carolina commit Sam Reynolds picked up where Franklin left off, carrying the rock 12 times for 91 yards and two touchdowns, while also catching three passes for 111 yards and a score on a 85-yard catch and run.

Next up for Thompson is a meeting with Hewitt-Trussville on Friday night that will be broadcasted on ESPNU at 7 p.m. It will be a must-watch game for any Crimson Tide fan given the amount of prospects on both teams, that could end up playing in the SEC, like defensive end Justice Finkley and lineman Riley Quick of the Huskies.