Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha was chosen by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. as the national defensive player of the year at the midway point of the season, and Danny Shelton and Shaq Thompson were selected Tuesday to the ESPN.com midseason all-America team.
Thompson leads the nation with his four defensive touchdowns, the latest his 100-yard fumble return against Cal on Saturday.
“It was a great experience,” Thompson said, “but all the credit goes to the D-line. They’re the ones who penetrated, and the ball just popped out and into my hands.”
A storyline last week was Thompson’s return to Berkeley, the school he had once planned to attend. In fact, Thompson and another five-star recruit from Sacramento, defensive lineman Arik Armstead, had planned to go to Cal together before both changing their minds, with Thompson coming to UW and Armstead to Oregon.
“We were both thinking of going to the same college,” Thompson said. “Obviously that college didn’t work out, and we both parted ways. And it worked out the best for both of us.”
Thompson said Tuesday he hadn’t yet talked to his friend this week ahead of UW’s visit to Eugene on Saturday.
“I’ll probably send him a text today to get something going,” Thompson said.
Thompson and Armstead, listed at 6-foot-8, 290 pounds, went to different high schools in Sacramento (Thompson attended Grant; Armstead Pleasant Grove), but they bonded over similar interests.
“We knew each other a little bit going into high school, just hearing each other’s names and whatnot. You know how that goes. You hear somebody’s name and you try to get to know him,” Thompson said. “We’re both cool, relaxed, chill. And we both love the game. That’s what I like about him. We’re basically the same person.”
Armstead hurt his left ankle in Oregon’s loss to Arizona two weeks ago and sat out the Ducks’ game at UCLA this past Saturday. He status this week is uncertain.
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