From the Shuffle to Solid Standing

Not too long ago, Tyrice Thompson was rapping the ‘A-State Shuffle', displaying impressive signing talent. He's coy about what he plans to do as an encore musically, but promised that he has some tricks up his sleeve coming this summer. These days, his football abilities are the ones turning heads as the tight end may be playing the best he ever has since donning the maroon and gold.

In the last spring scrimmage, Tyrice Thompson tallied there receptions for 58 yards, and each of those catches showed his great athleticism and sure hands. "They're just giving me an opportunity to do what I do best," he said. "With that I do what they tell me to do and I do it the best I can."

When he first arrived at Arizona State in 2003, the flamboyant tight end gave himself the nickname ‘The Elevator', claiming that once he ascends his game; they'll be no stopping him. Unfortunately, his Sun Devil tenure thus far has resembled more of a people-mover – slow moving, with no peaks or excitement to boast. He vowed to give up that moniker, yet he think his struggling career is not only a curse, but also a gift.

"Everything I have been through has made me stronger and is the wind in my sails," he explained. "I understand everything. There's nothing that can be run by me that I don't understand. I know what I need to do and it's all about doing it, being committed to it and believing in these coaches. I think everyone on our team believes the same thing."

Not only did Thompson experience a transition in coaches, but also in his playing position. He originally came to ASU as wide receiver, was asked to play tight end and defensive end in subsequent years, moved back to wide receiver in 2006, and this season will go back to the tight end spot "I was kinda scared saying ‘oh…here we go again…' But I talked to the coaches, and they want me to play slot (receiver) too, so I'm gonna play slot and H-Back too. I like playing tight end because I don't think there's a safety in the Pac-10 that can guard me. That's another thing I learned in my four years – you have to get a little cocky. I'm a humble person, but ain't no more time for that. I have to put all my eggs in one basket."

Tight ends coach Dan Cozzetto is without a doubt one of the most demanding coaches on the ASU staff, which suits Thompson just fine. "He's stays hard on you out here (in practice), but after it's over he'll pat you on the back and let you know what you did right and what you did wrong," remarked Thompson. "He doesn't treat us bad. He and all the coaches make sure they explain everything in detail. And if you don't do it, they'll be on you, so you better do it right and handle your business. That's what we all try to do out here."

At 6-5 220 Thompson surely as the height for a tight end, yet lacks the bulk needed to play on the line of scrimmage. He claimed that blocking is the skill that he most improved on and is more than ready to mix it up with the rest the Devils' front five. "My feet are quicker, I understand stepping, knowing angles, knowing running lanes. I understand a lot of that stuff more and also defensive concepts," he commented. "I can do anything I put my mind to. I might be a little light in the head, but my heart is heavier than any player on this field, besides my teammates (laughs). All I have to do is worry about me, do what I need to do and everything else will fall into place."

In 2003 the Phoenix South Mountain standout was all set to embark on his football career at the University of Massachusetts. His signed with that school more than 14 days after the signing date, thus making his LOI non-binding. Thus, he was the equivalent of a free agent status, which allowed him to sign with the school he always wanted to play for – ASU.

Now in his last year for the Sun Devils, Thompson admitted that he's feeling the pressure, as a hometown player, to perform well in front of his family and friends in his last go-around in the maroon and gold. The tight end stated that he wouldn't have it any other way. "If I don't hold it down for my state what type of player would I be? I have to do it for my people (smile). If I don't aim for the top then what am I aiming for?"

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