Lions junior running back makes big plays

Running back Lamonte Thompson darts around one of his coaches during practice Aug. 26.

UNA’s leading, returning rusher may be small in stature compared to most running backs, but that does not stop him from making big plays.

Junior running back Lamonte Thompson, a 5-foot-8, 175-pound running back has earned a spot on the Second-Team All-Gulf Conference team the last two years.

His playmaking skills have been on display since coming to UNA, and the nation had a chance to see it when was featured in ESPN’s SportCenter top 10 plays after last year’s season opener.

He has also led the team in rushing for the last two years, with a breakout performance in the season opener last season vs. Miles College, where he put up 189 yards and two touchdowns off just 14 carries.

Overall, Thompson posted 801 yards on 115 carries with seven touchdowns last season. He helped guide the Lions rushing attack to third best in the GSC.

Thompson is one of two players to have been at UNA all four years, and because of that, the leadership that he displays is very important to the younger players on the team.

“He is a hard worker and a leader — a quiet leader,” said head coach Bobby Wallace.

Thompson said he knows the value of being a good leader to the younger players because of the leadership he saw from former fullback Chris Coffey.

“He was a great leader, always did what he was supposed to do,” he said. “He practiced hard and played hard as well.”

He feels like he is prepared to fill the void of leadership that will be missing with the departure of Coffey.

Starting quarterback Luke Wingo said that Thompson’s skill set has made his job easier.

“He is an awesome running back and has awesome talent. He’s by far the best running back I have been around,” he said.

Wingo said he sees the hard work mentally that Chris Coffey had trickle down to Thompson.

Offensive Coordinator Cody Gross said that Thompson is an all-around back by being able to catch passes out of the backfield and a great blocker.

“He is tough, elusive and has really improved as a pass catcher and blocker,” he said.