This time last year, true freshman Bryce Thompson was participating in his first camp at Tennessee as a member of Jeremy Pruitt’s program. Fast forward to today and Thompson is one of the key pieces of the Tennessee program following a debut season which saw him earn FWAA Freshman All-American honors in addition to being named to the 2018 SEC All-Freshman team.

According to Pro Football Focus, Thompson finished with the highest grade among all freshman cornerbacks in the nation last fall after playing in all 12 of Tennessee’s games. Thompson led the Vols in interceptions (3) and passes defended (7) in addition to adding 34 tackles and forcing one fumble in 2018.

Not bad for a player that arrived labeled as an athlete that could have ended up on either side of the ball.

During Tennessee’s recent Media Day event, Thompson deflected all praise to his head coach and renowned defensive backs coach, Jeremy Pruitt.

“I feel like Coach Pruitt is the best defensive coach in the country right now. I’m proud to call myself a DB,” Thompson said during the event.

When asked why he felt that Pruitt was that caliber of a defensive mind, Thompson went into further detail on the subject.

“He’s a ball coach. We talked concepts. We don’t just do a play, we are going over concepts the reason why we are running it,” Thompson said in a video posted to Twitter by Louis Fernandez of WBIR. “He just knows everything that is going on and I really love seeing that in a coach. He’s hungry, he’s just as hungry as us.”

Thompson may be biased but it’s hard to argue with his logic considering the massive success the young defensive back has achieved on the field in a such a short time under Pruitt’s leadership. With true freshman cornerback Warren Burrell being thrown praise early during Tennessee’s latest training camp, there’s a chance the next All-American cornerback is already on the roster and taking reps just behind Thompson on Rocky Top.

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Sports betting in Tennessee officially launched on November 1, 2020, and many of the largest sportsbooks are live and operating in the volunteer state. Tennessee is only one of a handful of SEC football states with legalized sports betting.