Robert Stock bypassed his senior year of high school to enroll a year early at Southern California in 2006, and another touted California player has followed in his footsteps–albeit with considerably less fanfare. Jacob Thompson, a righthander from Cerritos, Calif., bypassed his senior year at Woodrow Wilson High to enroll early at Long Beach State. Thompson, who is not related to the Virginia righty of the same name, was ruled ineligible for his junior year at Wilson after transferring from Mayfair High, and Dirtbags recruiting coordinator Troy Buckley said his family feared he would not be eligible for his senior year, either.
"So they approached us to see if we’d be interested in taking him early, and we had to figure out how it could be done," Buckley said. "It started in the middle of February–it was their proposal to us, and we had money, we had need, and he’s talented enough to be able to survive at this level at the age of 18."
Thompson took the GED and met all the academic requirements for early entrance, and he had no problem clearing LBSU’s admissions process. Now Thompson will enter a terrific learning environment at Long Beach. He won’t be pressed into immediate high-pressure duty thanks to LBSU’s admirable pitching depth, and he’ll get the chance to learn under seasoned Dirtbag veterans like Vance Worley, Manny McElroy and Bryan Shaw.
In the meantime, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Thompson can work on refining his repertoire, which includes an 87-91 mph fastball that he commands very well, a sharp low-70s curveball and a promising low-70s changeup. His frame has plenty of projection, and he could add velocity and emerge as a potential first-round pick as he grows into his body over three years at Long Beach.
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