Shaq Thompson answered a few questions on a teleconference a little while ago about his decision to forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft. Here's what he said.
(On making 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.”
(On how much draft projections played into his 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.”
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(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 which 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.”
(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.”
(Anything you’re most proud of from UW career?) “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.”
(What about your degree?) “I’m coming back. I talked to (associate athletic director of student development) Kim Durand about that. We have that all settled out.”
(On what he heard from family members) “They were just saying what best fits for me, if I should go or if I should stay, and so far I’ve been hearing good reports so I think I’m just going to go.”
(When did you know in your heart you were going to leave?) “I was thinking about it during the Oklahoma State week. That was the main thing I was really focusing on, and I just decided it was right for me to go.”
(On reaching out to Lawyer Milloy and advice he gave) “Just play like a family, look to the person next to you each and every day and play for him, and play for yourself. That just really helped me just stay motivated, keep the young guys – well, they’re not young anymore – just keep them motivated, and tell them that nobody on the field is better than them. Compete for everything. Always tell yourself that you’re the best person on the field, and have that mindset that nobody is better than you.”
(Did that resonate coming from him?) “Yeah. Lawyer Milloy, he was the best to ever do it. He’s a great person, too.”
(When does training start?) “I’m in San Diego right now. I start training tomorrow.”
(On consulting with LBs coach Bob Gregory) “We always talk just about my game and I have so much to improve on, a lot of potential. … just crafting my game, trying to get that much better, and just growing forward. I talked to him about it. He was down with it and wished me the best of luck.”