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Shaq Thompson | Linebacker

Team: Washington Huskies
Ht / Wt:  6'2' / 225

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Washington junior LB/RB Shaq Thompson will speak with his family over Christmas break before making a decision about the NFL Draft.
"Just sitting down with my family and Coach Pete and some of the coaches and just think about it," Thompson said. "We’ll see. I don’t know. I’m just focused on this last game and going to see my family." Washington plays in the Jan. 2 TicketCity Cactus Bowl against Oklahoma State. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Thompson is supremely versatile and can handle the RB, OLB and S positions. Most draft evaluators, however, see him as an NFL OLB. Dec 18 - 5:03 PM

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Washington junior LB/RB Shaq Thompson wins the Paul Hornung Award, given to college football’s most versatile player.

Most draft evaluators see the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Thompson as a defensive player at the next level. Thompson finished the regular season as the second-leading rusher for the Huskies with 456 yards and two touchdowns. We still think he has the highest upside as a defender. Ironically, Thompson has scored four of his six total touchdowns from the defensive side of things. Against Illinois, Thompson became the first Husky to return a fumble for a touchdown and an interception for a touchdown in the same game. The Washington prospect also had a 100-yard fumble return for a touchdown versus Cal.
Dec 12 - 3:30 PM

An AFC South personnel director told that "a run-heavy team might like Washington junior LB/RB Shaq Thompson" more as a RB than a LB.

Most scouts and analysts view Thompson as a defensive player at the next level, so it's interesting that an NFL evaluator is finally coming forward to say that the Washington two-way star could possibly have a future on offense. Thompson's rushed for 456 yards on 61 attempts to a 7.5 YPC average. "He has an amazing nose for the ball [on defense], but a run-heavy team might like him better as a RB. He's talented and growing in that spot as his time on offense has increased. A natural runner." We still think he has the highest upside as a defender. Ironically, Thompson's actually scored four of his six total touchdowns from the defensive side of things.
Nov 12 - 7:55 PM

Washington HC Chris Petersen said junior Shaq Thompson will start at LB against Arizona.

Thompson started the last three contests at running back while seeing part time snaps at running back. "So we’re getting our running backs going a little bit, so we’re maybe able to balance (Thompson) back over there (on defense) a little bit more," Petersen said, adding Thompson could still see some time on offense if he can handle it. Thompson's NFL projection is on the defensive side of the ball.
Nov 11 - 9:56 AM

Washington junior running backer Shaq Thompson rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries in the school's 44-30 loss to UCLA.

Thompson started at running back, as expected, and intermittently contributed on defense. We understand Washington might lack talent at running back, but for selfish purposes we would rather see Thompson on defense on a full time basis.
Nov 9 - 2:35 PM

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. noted that Washington junior LB/RB Shaq Thompson is "still a defender if we're talking draft value."

Thompson has worked impressively as a RB in Washington's last two games, rumbling for 98 yards against Stanford and 176 against Colorado. At the NFL-level, though, Thompson is still viewed as a linebacker. Mel Kiper Jr. likes him on that level, saying "he's an extraordinary athlete" and calling the junior "an effective tackler and playmaker, which is saying something for a guy who has played safety, running back and cornerback." Kiper wrote that the key for Thompson was "play[ing] in space" so that he wouldn't be "swallowed up" if engaged by a good blocker.
Nov 5 - 7:17 PM

An NFL scout told Sports Illustrated that Washington junior Shaq Thompson projects as a first- or second-round draft pick if he chooses to enter the 2015 NFL Draft as an underclassman.

"The scout pointed out that Thompson is bigger than Tampa Bay Buccaneers star linebacker Lavonte David, a second-round pick in 2012. Whether it’s as a safety or linebacker, the scout projects Thompson as a first- or second-round selection and expects him to leave early for May’s NFL Draft," The Inside Read wrote. Even though Thompson is one of Washington's best running backs, his true projection and real value is on defensive side of the ball. Washington coach Chris Petersen and another NFL scout who spoke with SI's Inside Read, believe Thompson is "just a football player." The 6-foot-1, 228-pound Thompson rushed for 174 rushing on 15 carries, while scoring a touchdown in Washington’s 38-23 win against Colorado.
Nov 5 - 2:15 PM

Washington junior Shaq Thompson will start at RB, not LB, against UCLA for the third straight game.

Thompson will play some on defense, according to head coach Chris Petersen, unlike the last two games when he has strictly played running back. The junior 174 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries against Colorado. We think Thompson is a fine running back, but his true projection and real value is on defense. While he might be Washington's best running back, the team is weakening their second level defenders without him playing on that side of the ball on a full time basis.
Source: Komo News
Nov 5 - 11:15 AM

Washington junior RB/Off-LOS LB Shaq Thompson rushed for 174 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in the school's 38-23 win over Colorado.

Thompson produced gains of 39, 24, and 56 yards in this game. We still say Thompson is a better linebacker than running back, but he broke a few tackles and displayed nice straight-line speed after attacking running lanes in this game.
Nov 1 - 4:51 PM

CBS Sports' Dane Brugler was impressed by Washington junior OLB Shaq Thompson's ability to play both sides of the ball.

Brugler wrote that Thompson impressed with his "vision, agility and acceleration." He went on to say that, "Scouts appreciate players who can play multiple roles as it speaks to their unselfishness and natural football instincts. Regardless of where his future NFL teams see him fitting best, Thompson is a clear first-round athlete." While he might be a first-round athlete, it's more than likely the 6-foot-2, 230-pound junior will be selected to play his natural position of outside linebacker.
Source: CBS Sports
Oct 30 - 5:58 PM's Bucky Brooks wrote that he would go "all-in" on Washington junior OLB Shaq Thompson if asked to place a wager on a prospect with "the potential to skyrocket during the run up to the draft."

"[Thompson] is unquestionably one of the top defenders in college football with the size, speed and athleticism to wreak havoc on opponents as a versatile defender on the edge," Brooks wrote. "He has the first-step quickness and burst to blow past blockers on blitzes, while displaying the instincts, awareness and cover skills to pick off errant passes in coverage." Of course, Thompson has also been allowed to show off his chops out of the backfield as a running back this year. "Utilizing the same athleticism, speed and burst that make him a terror off the edge, Thompson has churned out big plays on the ground by exploding to the second level on inside runs off zone-read action," Brooks wrote. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder should be a first-round pick as an outside linebacker, though it won't hurt that he could also fill in at running back or safety.
Oct 28 - 7:49 PM

Washington junior OLB Shaq Thompson "proved that his big play ability translated just as well to the offensive side of the ball" on Saturday versus Arizona State, according to CBS Sports' Rob Rang.

Thompson was moved to running back almost exclusively on Saturday due to injuries to his teammates. He responded with 98 yards rushing on 21 carries. "As the game went on and the novelty of Thompson's position switch wore off, it was clear he possessed the vision, balance and burst to potentially project quite well at running back at the next level," Rang wrote. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder should be a first-round pick as an outside linebacker.
Source: CBS Sports
Oct 27 - 12:45 AM

Washington junior OLB Shaq Thompson, playing almost exclusively at running back, collected 98 yards rushing on 21 carries in Saturday's 24-10 loss to Arizona State.

Thompson can make more of an impact on a game on the defensive side of the ball, but UW HC Chris Petersen was in a bind and attempted to make lemonade by moving his most gifted player into the backfield. The Huskies were trying to cover for injuries to the running back corps, as well as the absence of starting QB Cyler Miles. Hopefully, Thompson can get back to focusing primarily on defense as soon as next week.
Oct 26 - 8:19 PM

Washington junior OLB Shaq Thompson and junior CB Marcus Peters will both declare for the draft after this season, reports TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline.

Both look like first-round picks, though each has questions surrounding them. For Thompson, scouts may be concerned by the former's safety size and lack of experience at linebacker. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder, who we compare to Ryan Shazier, has also seen time at running back. Peters, meanwhile, will have to answer questions about his off-the-field temperament.
Oct 24 - 7:34 PM

Washington junior OLB Shaq Thompson possesses "excellent athleticism and awareness in coverage, traits that project well in today's pass-happy NFL," according to CBS Sports' Rob Rang.

"Anxious to get to their playmakers closer to the line of scrimmage, the Huskies moved Thompson to linebacker after he signed with the team as a highly regarded safety, and the move has paid off brilliantly with the instinctive and athletic defender emerging as one of the top defensive playmakers in college football, scoring four defensive touchdowns thus far this season," Rang wrote. The analyst ranks Thompson No. 18 overall on his big board. We see a Ryan Shazier-type defensive playmaker.
Source: CBS Sports
Oct 22 - 7:30 PM