Thielen has been wreaking havoc off the varsity line since his sophomore season, when he played every other defensive series collecting 15 tackles, three solo.
It was with that foundation that he took off, growing from 5-foot-10, 195 pounds to 6-1, 245 in a year while shaving his 40-yard dash by three-tenths of a second to 5.0, posting a 4.68 shuttle and a vertical of 28 inches.
And while Thielen makes it look effortless, he is the first to admit there was plenty of effort involved. It was through rigorous strength training and conditioning three times a week at Omaha's Athletes' Training in the offseason that Thielen credits his development.
He has anchored the trenches on both sides of the ball the last two seasons.
He posted seven tackles, three solo, and a sack for a 5-yard loss Thursday night in holding Seward to just one first down. The Bluejays never snapped the ball in Skutt territory. Skutt intercepted four passes, blocked a punt and held the visitors at Moylan Field to 16 yards. At halftime, Seward's total yardage was minus-20 as it trailed 31-0 after a 28-point second quarter.
Thielen and the offensive line allowed senior quarterback Creighton Koley, who missed the Skyhawks' first two games with a dislocated elbow, to throw for three touchdowns and run for one in the first half. Koley finished 8 of 13 for 113 yards, running for 116 yards on 15 carries before sitting out the final 15 minutes of the game.
With the win, Skutt improved to 4-1 on the season and remains at No. 4 in Class B.
Through those five games, Thielen has tallied 25 tackles, five solo, and two sacks for 17 yards of loss.
South Dakota, North Dakota, North Dakota State, Northwest Missouri State, Drake and Wayne State are just a handful of programs showing strong interest in Thielen. At this point, Thielen is keeping all options open, noting distance from home is not a factor. In fact, with family in Texas, he looks to possibly continue his career in the Lone Star.
With continued performances like Thursday night's and those before, including a 23-7 win over the state's then-top-ranked Elkhorn of Class A, there is no doubt several Lone Star programs would jump at the chance to pull Thielen.