Joe Davidson

Shaq Thompson leaves Huskies for NFL Draft

Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson (7) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona, Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, in Tucson, Ariz.
Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson (7) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona, Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, in Tucson, Ariz. AP

Washington Huskies All-America lineback Shaq Thompson, a former Grant high standout, announced today that he will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.

Thompson, a 6-foot-2, 235-pounder who could move to strong safety, is projected as a high first-round draft pick because of his athleticism and versatility. He entered Washington as a safety before moving to linebacker. He has played running back as a junior.

“After careful prayer and consideration with my family and coach (Chris Petersen) at great lengths, I have decided to declare for the NFL Draft,” Thompson said in a statement released by the university. “This was not an easy decision for me. I love the University of Washington, and everything the U-Dub community has done for me these past few years.”

Thompson scored four defensive touchdowns and rushed for more than 100 yards in each of two starts at tailback, including 170 against Colorado. He won the Paul Hornung Award for the nation’s most versatile player.

Thompson is the younger brother of Syd Quan Thompson, a four-year starting cornerback at Cal whose NFL career with the Denver Broncos ended because of an Achilles tear. Syd Quan Thompson now coaches at Grant, which also has produced NFL products running back Onterrio Smith, receiver Donte Stallworth and linebacker Reggie Walker.

“The NFL,” Thompson told The Bee on Christmas Eve, “is a dream. I’m getting closer.”

Thompson will spend the next six weeks working out in Southern California to prepare for the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Thompson’s announcement comes as the Huskies welcomed quarterback Jake Browning, who graduated early from Folsom High School and enrolled at Washington for the winter quarter.

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