A few weeks back, we talked about players on the Toledo roster that were once overlooked on the recruiting trail, yet make a big impact for the Rockets. The definition of 'unknown gem' coming out of high school is wide receiver, Cody Thompson. The Huron, Ohio native held one lone offer out of high school, which was from Jason Candle and the Toledo Rockets.
They don't hand out recruiting stars for hard work, but if they did, Cody Thompson would have been a five star blue chip recruit. Thompson was virtually unknown, but came to Toledo ready to work and would see playing time as soon as he stepped in campus, in his freshman season for the Rockets. However, in the 2015 season, Thompson would ramp it up a notch. As a sophomore, he would lead the Rockets in receiving yards with 825 while also finished third in the nation in yards per catch (22.3), leading to national attention.
Now, Thompson is entering his junior season and looks to breakout once again in 2016. Over the past year, Thompson’s talents have been on full display all across the country, especially in the biggest moments. The big play ability has led to national spotlight for Thompson, who was named to the Preseason Biletnikoff Award Watch List on Wednesday, an award annually given to the nation’s best wide receiver.
“It’s always nice to get recognized,” Thompson told us, “It shows that all the hard work and long days are paying off. It really is an honor to be mentioned among some of the best wide receivers in all of College Football.”
The six-foot-one, 205-pound Thompson has become a proven leader both on and off of the field for the Rockets. Toledo wide receivers coach, Derek Sage says Thompson has some traits that have really led him to become the player that he is today.
“Cody prides himself on running great, precise routes, his ability to go up and get the 50/50 ball has improved each year.” Toledo wide receivers coach, Derek Sage told us, “Last year, he really excelled at yards after catch, whether it was a spin, juke, or just running through a defender and breaking a tackle. We practice it every day and he takes that to another level.”
So from an unheard of name out of high school to a Biletnikoff Award Watch List honoree, what’s the secret for Thompson?
“I mean really by never being satisfied or content,” Thompson said on how he’s made a name for himself, “You have to attack every day with a mindset that you’re going to do everything you can to be the best that you can be. It makes it easier when you have amazing teammates and coaches that will push you and want you to succeed, especially in my position group with one of the best wide receiver coaches in the country in Derek Sage.”
For Derek Sage, who has worked with several big name receivers in his coaching career, the honor of working with Thompson begins at practice and even in the classroom.
“Well, for me it means Cody is my best ‘practice player,’ he comes to work every day with a purpose and embraces the grind of being a student athlete. Cody also has phenomenal grades and is a physically and mentally tough football player. He practices with great effort and habits which really translated to becoming the ‘Big Play’ guy. If he comes down with a few more of those 50/50 balls, which we expect him to do, he should pick up and continue to be a big play guy. We’re looking for him to have a huge year, coming off of an injury, which I know he’s hungry for as well.”
The Rockets will look to bring an elusive Mid-American Conference championship back to the Glass City this season, which is a goal of Thompson’s as well.
“For myself, I just want to consistently improve in all aspects of my game and just be the best player that I can be. I want to be a player that can always be counted on to produce. As for the team, we all have the same goal and that is to bring a MAC Championship back to Toledo.”
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The Rockets will open the season on Friday, September 2nd at Arkansas State. Toledo Scout will be in Jonesboro, Arkansas to cover the game and will be following the Rockets all season long, as your leader in Toledo team and recruiting news. We’ll keep you posted on the latest with Thompson and the Rockets. Subscribe to Toledo Scout for premium interviews, forums, and content by clicking HERE.