In a conference call with the media on Monday evening, UW’s Shaq Thompson explained his decision to enter April’s NFL draft, forgoing his senior season with the Huskies. He’s UW’s first defensive player to leave early since defensive lineman Terry “Tank” Johnson following the 2003 season.
And here’s our updated story on Thompson’s early departure.
(On the decision) “It feels good. I can finally get it out and not keep it a secret anymore. Just the start of a new life, a new chapter that I’m going to move forward in and just ready to go for the ride.”
(Did first-round projects play a part in your decision?) “It really didn’t play that much. I try to stay away from that and just focus on getting the best option from my family members, my uncle really, Brian Thompson, my brother Syd’Quan, my mom, and just talking with Coach Pete just a little bit, just to see where I’m at and how I should go forward with things.”
(Did Petersen try to recruit you to stay?) “He didn’t try to recruit me to stay, he just said whatever’s good, go with it. If it’s worth coming back, then come back, if it’s worth going, by all means go ahead. And he just wished me luck and all that.”
(Have you decided on a training spot yet?) “I’m training in San Diego at EXOS API, and just really making progress on what I’ve started already and just to keep getting better.
(Anything in particular you’re looking to improve?) “Speed wise and just being an all-around football player.”
(What’s feedback you’ve gotten on the position you might play?) “I really haven’t been focused on that, I’ve just been focused on trying to get better every single day, and continue on training, and just work as a linebacker and then also work as a DB so I can be trained at wherever they draft me as.”
(Do you have a preference?) Outside linebacker, (and then) strong safety.”
(On experience of playing offense and defense this season) “I’d like to thank Coach Pete and them for allowing me to play both sides. It really helped perfect myself as a player just to understand both sides of the ball, and it really helped me on offense at running back because I had the defensive mindset, and I was reading the defense and linebackers and just anticipating where they’re going to be. And just visualizing if I hit this hole, is there going to be something there and whatnot. It made me a better football player, honestly.”
(What most proud of at UW?) “I’m proud about all my years that I’ve been at Washington, honestly. It was just memorable and I had a great time there, even with the coaching change. Just being around the players and the bond I built with them as brothers will never go away and that’s just something special that I’ll keep forever.”