Rosemount's Compton drafted by the Washington RedskinsAfter starting for four years at the University of South Dakota, Rosemount High School graduate Tom Compton was selected in the sixth round of the NFL draft.
By: Nathan Hansen, Rosemount Town Pages
When Tom Compton was in middle school, he approached his coach with a question. An offensive lineman since he started in RAAA, Compton thought maybe he could try something a little different. He thought maybe he could try running back.
His coach didn’t think that sounded like a very good idea. His coach was right.
On Saturday, Compton’s combination of size, speed and skill on the offensive line could land him a job with the Washington Redskins National Football League. The 2007 Rosemount High School graduate was rated as the ninth best offensive tackle prospect at the NFL combine earlier this year. He had the eighth best vertical leap at his position and the fifth-best time in the 40-yard dash. He was selected by the Redskins with the 23rd pick of the sixth round, 193rd overall.
“I’ve been talking to a lot of people, almost every team, I think,” Compton said prior to the draft. “I had a visit with the Vikings. I had some private meetings at the combine with the Saints, the Texans and the Chargers. I’ve been talking to some o-line coaches from probably 10 different teams.”
Compton has played football most of his life, but he really got serious about the sport when he was a freshman at RHS. His brother, Nick, was a senior then and went on to play in college at North Dakota State. Compton said he wanted to follow in his big brother’s footsteps.
He played on some good Irish teams, then enrolled at the University of South Dakota after graduation.
At 6-4 and 260 pounds as an RHS senior, Compton wasn’t exactly huge by NFL lineman standards. He sat out as a redshirt his first season at USD, but he became an anchor of the South Dakota line after that. He started every game for the next four years.
“I definitely had a great time at South Dakota,” said Compton, who would be the first Coyote taken in the NFL draft. “I spent five years here and I wouldn’t take any day back. It’s been a great experience, and I’m just ready to go to the next level.”
In his first two years at South Dakota he grew to 6-9 and 290 pounds, and he was going into his junior year when his coach told him he had a real shot at the NFL.
That’s when Compton really started to work. He was an Associated Press first-team All America his senior year, but his final game in a South Dakota uniform was only the beginning. When his senior season ended, he started preparing for the draft. He was a fixture in the weight room and on the field with the Coyotes’ strength coach.
Things have gone nearly nonstop since then.
“It’s been a pretty long process,” he said. “You’ve got to go to the all star game. I went to the combine and my pro day. You just kind of keep going to the next step. The draft is the next step for me.”
Going through the draft process can be an unusual experience. Players are poked and prodded. They’re evaluated in nearly every possible way. The process has been compared to a beauty pageant, and reading some of the descriptions – Compton has been described as having a naturally large frame and a trim middle – the comparison seems to fit.
Compton hasn’t paid a lot of attention to the scouting reports on him, but he gets updates from his mother and his sister.
Compton has hired an agent. He’s done everything he can do to prepare. Now he just has to wait. Like a soon-to-be parent just hoping for a healthy baby, Compton said he doesn’t care who chooses him. He’s just excited to hear his name called.
Compton’s family planned to hold a draft party Saturday, when Compton is most likely to be selected.
“I really don’t know what to expect,” he said. “It will be cool seeing some people I know get drafted, but when it gets to day two or day three and I’m just sitting and waiting, I’m sure I’ll be pretty anxious.”