MORGANTOWN - Jordan Thompson has acquired the nickname "Squirt'' around West Virginia's football team.
It was given to him by Stedman Bailey, another of WVU's receivers, because of Thompson's diminutive size. He's just 5-foot-7 and 159 pounds, easily the smallest of the team's players. Shoot, he's two inches shorter and 15 pounds lighter even than Tavon Austin.
Bailey got the name from the movie "Finding Nemo." Squirt was a small sea turtle, whose father's name was Crush.
But perhaps Crush might be just as appropriate for Thompson. Because a lot of times that's exactly what happens to him in a game in which players routinely are twice his weight.
Take Saturday's spring-ending Gold-Blue game, for example. On the fourth series of the scrimmage, Thompson was slammed into by cornerback Avery Williams and lost the football. It was one of four turnovers by an offense that, because it gave the ball away so often, lost the spring game to the defense, 43-34.
What is surprising, though, is not that Thompson coughed up the ball that time, but that he doesn't do it more frequently.
"The big hits? Sometimes they're going to hit you. They're going to hit you hard,'' Thompson said. "All you have to do is bounce back up to make sure that they know you're not going to back down, that you're not hurt.''
Thompson had plenty of chances to do that in what amounted to his public college debut Saturday night, even if that public was limited by lousy weather - the school estimated the crowd at 10,000, about one-third of the hoped-for attendance. He caught eight passes, more than anyone else, and gained 66 yards.