Shaq Talks About Decision To Turn Pro

Shaq Thompson told the media Monday that he’s already picked out a pre-draft workout spot - EXOS/API in San Diego, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Thompson, the junior linebacker from Sacramento, is already in San Diego ready to get on with the job of being a professional football player.

“It feels good I can get it out and not keep it a secret anymore,” Thompson said Monday night about his decision to forgo his final year of eligibility at Washington to turn pro. “It’s a new chapter and I’m ready to go for the ride.

“I had a great time (at UW), even with the coaching change…just being around the players and the bond I built with them as brothers will never go away and it’s something special that I’ll keep forever.”

Thompson said it was during the last week of practices leading up to the Cactus Bowl where he felt turning pro was the right decision for him. “That was the main thing I was focusing on, and decided it was right for me to go,” he said.

Shaq added that it wasn’t the draft projections driving him toward his eventual decision. “I tried to stay away from that and try and get the best option from my family members; from my uncle Brian Thompson - BT - my brother Syd’Quan Thompson, My Mom - and talking with coach Pete a little bit to see where I’m at, how I should go forward with things,” he said. “They were saying what was best for me, if I should go or if I should stay. So far I’ve been hearing good reports, so I’m just going to go.”

Washington Linebackers Coach Bob Gregory was also consulted. “We always talk about my game and I have so much to improve on and a lot of potential, just crafting my game to get that much better,” Thompson said. “I talked to him about it, and he was down with it, wished me the best of luck.”

Did Petersen, already in the throes of trying to lock up UW’s 2015 recruiting glass, pitch Thompson about staying for his final year? “He didn’t try to recruit me,” Shaq said of his talks with Petersen. “(Petersen) said, ‘Whatever’s good, go with that. If it’s worth coming back, come back. If it’s worth going, by all means go ahead. He just wished me luck and all that.”

Thompson has shown himself to be a selfless teammate, willing to play on either side of the football. He started games on both offense and defense, and thinks the work he put in learning both running back and linebacker has already started to pay off for him as he prepares for the next level.

“I’d like to thank coach Pete for allowing me to play both sides,” Thompson said. “It helped perfect my game as a player to understand both sides of the ball, and it really helped me on offense as a running back. I had the defensive mindset, so I was reading the linebackers and anticipating where they were going to be and visualizing if I hit this hole, is there going to be somebody there? It made me a better football player, honestly.”

Thompson said that he also got some help from former UW All-American Lawyer Milloy that he’ll use as he makes that adjustment from the college game to the pro game.

“Play as a family,” Thompson said, reciting Milloy’s message. “Look to the person next to you each and every day and play for him, and play for yourself. That’s helped me stay motivated and keep the young guys - well, they’re not young anymore - motivated and tell them that nobody on the field is better than them. Always tell yourself you’re the best person on the field and have that mindset that nobody is better than you.”

With his Washington football experience behind him, it’s hard to think there will be many on the field better than Shaq Thompson, even on a stage as big as the NFL. But Shaq’s not done with the Huskies just yet; he said he’s already spoken with Kim Durand, Associate Athletic Director for Student Development, and they already have a plan that’s been put in place for him to come back and finish his degree. Top Stories