Kobe Thompson

Kobe Thompson and Rance Eddleblute, 2020 BASS High School State Champions.

CROOKSVILLE — A few months ago Kobe Thompson was one of the many high school seniors deprived of the traditions afforded students completing their final year of public education. Today he is a college student at Adrian College in Michigan. By the way, Kobe rode into Adrian, Michigan on a full bass fishing scholarship.

He is one of 602 incoming freshmen entering Adrian for the fall semester this year. The school’s enrollment is listed at over 1,800 students. Adrian, Michigan is located 30 minutes north of Toledo, making it a three and a half hour drive from Thompson’s Crooksville home to his dormitory door on campus.

Thompson reported to college on Sunday, Aug. 16. Classes began on Aug. 24, but incoming students were required to attend seminars concerning COVID-19 prior to beginning classes. Two weeks into the semester, Thompson and his classmates received word that the campus was shutting down for two weeks due to COVID-19. Around 100 cases of the virus were reported on campus during the first two weeks of the fall semester. Although currently not on campus, Thompson’s education has continued online.

His class load includes courses in business, economics, English Core 101, art, and a physical education class “just to add another hour to my credits,” says Kobe.

“My business class has about 45 kids, but the rest of them average about 20-25 kids,” described Kobe.

Being on a bass fishing scholarship means he has to go fishing wherever his coach, Seth Martin, decides to send him. Thompson’s bass fishing assignments sound more like a bass fisherman’s bucket list than homework.

On Sept. 13 he heads for Moors Landing on Kentucky Lake near Paducah, Kentucky where he will participate in an FLW tournament Sept. 16-17. From there he will head south to Paris Landing, Tennessee located farther south on Kentucky Lake for a tournament called the Big Bass Challenge on the 19th. When he returns to Adrian College on Sept. 21, Kobe will report to Coach Martin to see if he will be fishing a Sept. 25 bass tournament on the Chesapeake Bay.

In mid-October, Kobe will step back and fish a non-college event when he returns to Kentucky Lake with his Perry County Jr. Renegade teammate, Rance Eddleblute, to fish the B.A.S.S. High School Championship. Kobe and Rance won the Ohio High School Championship this past summer to qualify for the national tournament at Kentucky Lake.

Even though he will be on the road most of September, Thompson says keeping up with his classes is a requirement that his professors expect him to fulfill.

“I have to email all my teachers ahead of time to make sure they know I will be missing class,” says Thompson, “and I will do all the assignments online.” Thompson says that because of COVID-19, Adrian’s teaching staff already has course work prepared for online learning.

“Really nice and laid back” was the response Thompson used to describe college life as a freshman working for three weeks on his future. Those same five words are an apt description of Kobe Thompson. One brief conversation with this young man leaves you with the impression Kobe has found his niche for now.

With several of his bass fishing teammates in quarantine, Thompson says Coach Martin may be sending him to represent Adrian College at several key tournaments on their schedule. As for any advice about college he would share with this year’s crop of high school seniors, Thompson sounded like the people who were advising him last spring as he pondered whether or not to accept his scholarship offer.

“Just go and see if you like it,” said the Adrian College freshman. Of course that advice is coming from a college kid who will be completing assignments from the front deck of a Nitro bass boat as he competes on Kentucky Lake.

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