the Wall of sPaiN
BenTLeY sPain is The FiRsT To admit he took his lumps in 2010 dur- ing his freshman season as the start- ing right tackle at Providence High.
“overall, I’d like to say I had a positive contri-
bution, but that’s not to say I didn’t struggle at
all,” Spain said. “It’s a huge difference with the
speed of players. It’s a big physical step, and I
had to adapt pretty quickly.”
Spain adapted over the course of three-plus
seasons. The 6-foot- 5, 293-pound lineman was
named oL MVP of the Charlotte Nike Football
Training Camp in March.
“My knowledge of the game has increased
exponentially,” Spain said. “I play more instinctively, and I’ve made incredible physical bounds.”
Part of the motivation for Spain’s physical
training was a knee injury he suffered during his
junior season, which caused him to miss all but
one game. He has since added 10 to 15 pounds
of muscle while shedding some of the fat that
Photo by Rusty Transou, Providence SportsPhoto.com
slowed him in the past.
“The weight room is where it all started, but
I try to be really balanced in my training,” Spain
noted. “I train for speed, power, agility, flexibility
and recovery; and I take each of them as seri-
ous as the others.”
After reshaping his body, Spain hopes to
add to his reputation as one of the state’s best
“I need to improve my run-blocking a little
more,” Spain said. “I need to get a little more push.
I’d like to become a more dominant run-blocker.”
‘the relief’ of goiNg oVer the MiDDle
TRevion ThoMPson Was a ReLuc- tant quarterback when he started his high school football career at Hillside in 2011.
Back then, the Hillside coaching staff viewed
Thompson as the freshman quarterback of the
future and he bounced from JV to varsity as his
passing skills developed.
“Most people want to play quarterback, but
that was not the case at all for me,” Thompson
said. “It was something where I always wanted
to play receiver.”
Before his sophomore season, the coaches
met with Thompson and asked him to move
back to his natural position of receiver. He now
describes that meeting as “a relief.”
Three years later, Thompson now creates mis-
matches all over the field with his size (6-foot- 3,
194 pounds) and route-running ability. Last
season as a junior, Thompson had 42 recep-
tions for 735 yards and five touchdowns despite
missing two games due to a heel injury. It was his
second season in a row with 40-plus catches.
“I’ve always had the speed and size,” Thomp-
son noted. “I found out I could be special get-
ting into routes and feeling out the defense.
Almost instantly, I could play at a high level for
Thompson believes what separates him from
other receivers is his precision route-running.
“Now, I understand why I run routes,” he said.
“My depth of routes, how I come out of breaks –
it’s all important. It’s not just round and choppy,
it’s a quick break.”
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