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Rookie Spotlight: Tom Compton

Posted by Andrew Walker on August 4, 2012 – 8:52 am

Each day during training camp, the Redskins Blog will be highlighting one rookie as they participate in their first professional camp and try to find their way onto the final roster. Today’s spotlight is on offensive tackle Tom Compton.

Tom Compton has seen a few of his fellow offensive linemen battle through injuries as his first training camp gets underway.

But Compton — the Redskins’ sixth-round pick out of South Dakota — doesn’t think about when his number might be called to fill in a hole along the line.

That’s because he’s too busy thinking about improving each day. Worrying about his spot in the rotation, Compton said, is for the birds.

“Regardless of if guys go down or not, you always have the mindset that you’re just one or two plays away from stepping in,” Compton said this week after a morning walk-through practice at Redskins Park. “So you have to be preparing so well to be in the position that, whether guys go down or not, you focus on what you’re doing to make yourself the best you can be.”

‘It gets pretty physical’
It was one week ago today that the Redskins had their first practice while wearing shoulder pads.

From that day on, the team’s training camp has had a much better football feel to it.

“You can tell that it gets pretty physical,” Compton said. “Guys want to hit a lot more with the pads. And I like it a lot because we can actually hit guys pretty hard, too.”

Compton said he last threw his shoulder pads on in December.

“It’s been awhile since I’ve thrown the pads on,” he said. “You want to be in that situation to be able to hit guys around.”

Technical mumbo jumbo
Compton, said there’s a few key components of blocking that he notices as he watches film of himself or talks with his coaches.

“I guess the main thing that is going through my head is getting off the ball,” Compton said. “It’s going a lot faster out there.”

Compton also said his “first and second steps are everything.”

“That’s the biggest thing I’m working on is my first two steps,” he said. “Because that will make or break a play.”

Speed it up
The Redskins Blog first caught up with Compton after his first organized team activities workout with the rest of his veteran teammates in May.

That first day, Compton said he often found himself just looking around and trying to figure out where to go next.

Compton said since that time, he’s gotten adjusted to the whirlwind that is a National Football League schedule.

“I think just being around the practice tempo, you get fitted in real well,” he said. “Just taking the reps, seeing how everything works.”

Compton said he feels comfortable in Ashburn, Va.

“There’s such a big change from training camp from OTA’s,” Compton said. “I just feel so much more comfortable right now than I was back then.”

Back to school
Compton played his college ball at South Dakota, a very small Division I school.

And he excelled there — he started all 43 games for the school from 2008-11 after redshirting in 2007. He was also named an All-Great West Conference first-team selection.

Compton said if he had the chance to go back and play one more game for South Dakota — given the coaching he’s received with the Redskins since leaving the school — he thinks that’d be pretty fun.

“You learn so much,” Compton said. “And I’ve learned so many things being here a couple months that it’s pretty exciting to see that you can making that much improvement in that short of a time. So as it keeps going, you’re going to learn that much more.”

Get out the earplugs
Props go out to Richard Quinn, a rookie tight end on the Redskins’ roster this season.

Quinn — Compton’s roommate for training camp — had to invest in some earplugs after hearing his teammate snoring the first night of camp.

“I am the snorer,” Compton admitted. “It’s seriously not too bad, but apparently the first night was bad enough for him to get plugs.”

Compton is among greats when it comes to snorers — yours truly.

“I can’t help it,” he said.

I’m right with you, brother.

Our first five Rookie Spotlights of the 2012 season have featured the “Flashback” section where we go back to the player’s high school photos via the scouting site, Rivals.com.

In some cases — like offensive lineman Josh LeRibeus — the high school photo was pretty funny.

Tragically — and perhaps ironically — Compton does not have a Rivals page from his high school days at Rosemount (Minn.) High School.

Compton said he’d seen the “Flashback” section in the previous Rookie Spotlights and knew he was going to be spared.

“I wasn’t the best player in high school,” Compton admitted, “And I figured when I saw a couple Rivals pics, I knew I wasn’t going to be on there.”

Compton said it felt good to know he’s went from somewhat of an unheralded high school project to being drafted by an NFL team.

“It feels great,” he said. “It kind of gave me an edge. When I was 18, I was really mad that I wasn’t getting looked at, and I used that as motivation to get where I am.”

Five W’s and one H:

Who is your favorite athlete?
“Michael Jordan. He just dominated when I was a kid — he was fun to watch.”

What is there to do in Rosemount, Minn.?
“There isn’t a whole lot to do, but when the Rosemount Leprechaun Days come around, it gets pretty crazy. So that’s fun.”

When did you first realize you could be an NFL prospect?
“Not until my junior year of college. I had some scouts tell me there was potential there.”

Where are you most comfortable on the offensive line?
“I’ve been at left tackle the whole time, but I am always ready if they want me to go anywhere else. I am pretty comfortable on both sides.”

Why aren’t you listed as a notable native on Rosemount’s Wikipedia page?
“It’s not up to date, I guess (laughs).”

How big is the Mall of America?
“The Mall of America is too big. If you do a lap it’s like four miles or something crazy like that.”

Go to training camp
If you’d like to attend the Redskins training camp, click here for a form and instructions to join the Redskins as they prepare for the 2012 season.

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