AT COLORADO: 2007 (Sr.)—He started 12 games including the Independence Bowl and played in all 13 (CU opened in a nickel formation in his non-start), seeing action for 538 snaps on the season in earning honorable mention All-Big 12 honors from the Associated Press. Played pretty steady and racked up 36 tackles on the season, 29 of the solo variety, with six for losses including a quarterback sack. He had his career-high of eight tackles, with seven solo, against Iowa State (he also had two third down stops and two hurries against the Cyclones); he had five tackles at Kansas State (all unassisted) and had four tackles versus Oklahoma and Missouri. He had five third down stops and five tackles for zero on the year, along with two passes broken up and an interception (the latter at Baylor). In the bowl game, he had four tackles (two solo). On special teams, he had CU’s two blocked kicks on the season, both punts which led to scores against Missouri and Nebraska; he was CU’s special teams player of the week for the latter. He won the Dan Stavely Award as presented by the coaching staff for being the most improved defensive linemen in spring drills.
2006 (Jr.)—He saw action on defense in 11 games (no starts; he missed the Baylor game due to an injury), as in 144 plays from scrimmage, he recorded 12 tackles. Six of those were solo stops, as he also had a third down stop and a quarterback chase down (near sack). He had three tackles against both Arizona State and Kansas State, adding two in the Nebraska game. He had started off like gangbusters in spring drills, with three tackles including two quarterback sacks in the first major scrimmage, but suffered a dislocated elbow in practice on April 4 and missed the remaining six practices. The injury healed completely by June. He was a bit of a “sleeker” player than the previous year, as he played at about 15 pounds lighter than he did as a sophomore.
2005 (Soph.)—He saw action in seven games overall, including the Champs Sports Bowl with a pair of starts (at Oklahoma State and versus Texas A&M). He was starting to come on when he went down in the A&M game with a torn posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), but underwent rehab without surgery and was able to return in time for the Big 12 championship game. His season best six tackles came in his first career start at OSU, and he posted five against Texas in the league title contest. He played 144 snaps on defense, posting 15 tackles (nine solo), with three third down stops, four quarterback hurries, one chasedown and two passes broken up. In the bowl game versus Clemson, he recorded two solo tackles. He had a solid spring, as in the three full scrimmages, he was in on 12 tackles, including nine solo, seven for losses and six quarterback sacks; he had five sacks alone in the second scrum. He finished third in the spring conditioning tests for the power positions with 48 points, posting top times in the 20-yard dash, the pro shuttle and the L-drill while tying for the top vertical jump at 33 inches.
2004 (Fr.)—He played in 11 games including the Houston Bowl (no starts), in all on defense as he was the backup rush end for the entire season; he also some special teams duty. He saw action for 99 plays from scrimmage, posting 14 tackles (10 solo), with four for losses including two quarterback sacks, which came against North Texas and Kansas. He also had one quarterback pressure, and his top tackle effort came against North Texas when he posted six, including five solo stops and three tackles for loss (earning CU defensive lineman of the week honors in the process). A member of CU’s 2003 recruiting class, he delayed his enrollment until January 2004 and participated in spring drills with the Buffs after moving to and working in Boulder in the previous fall.
HIGH SCHOOL—As a senior, he earned first-team Super all-Metro Birmingham honors (all classes), in addition to first-team Super All-Metro 5A and all-Shelby County accolades, as well as honorable mention all-state honors. SuperPrep named him to its all-Dixie region team, ranking him as the No. 26 player in Alabama (the second defensive end). He earned first-team all-metro and all-county honors as a junior. As a senior, playing defensive end, he was in on 94 tackles (65 solo), with over 20 for losses including 12 quarterback sacks; he also forced six fumbles, recovered two and had five passes broken up. He had 98 tackles as a junior (72 solo), with eight sacks, nine pass deflections, seven forced fumbles and one recovery he returned for a touchdown. He played as a backup defensive end as a sophomore at Birmingham’s Shade Valley High School. He played some tight end as a sophomore and senior, mainly as a blocker (no career catches). At Denver’s Thomas Jefferson his freshman year, he played tight end on offense and linebacker on defense on the junior varsity, but was called up to the varsity for the playoffs. Two of his top career games came against rival Pelham; as a junior, he had a career-high 15 tackles in a loss, but as a senior, he had nine tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in a 48-20 win, snapping a 10-year losing streak. He matched his career high with 15 tackles against Oak Mountain his senior year, adding two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass broken up in a 13-10 overtime victory. Thompson was 7-4 his senior year and 6-5 his junior year under coach Ricky Seale; Shade Valley was 8-5 his sophomore year for David Stapleton, reaching the state quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Hoover. He also lettered twice in track, participating in the 400-meter dash, discus and shot put.
ACADEMICS—He majored in Sociology at Colorado, and graduated December 21, 2007.
PERSONAL—He was born April 23, 1985 in Aurora, Colo. He lived in Denver through his freshman year in high school, and attended Thomas Jefferson for one year before his father took a job in Birmingham. His hobbies include reading the Bible, playing video games, listening to music and basketball. An older brother, Jamal, is an offensive tackle for Texas A&M (the two very well could line up against each other the next two years). A cousin, Antoine Cason, was a cornerback at Arizona and won the 2007 Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back; a distant cousin, Ken-Yon Rambo, was in the NFL as a wide receiver with the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys who is now with Calgary in the CFL (he played collegiately at Ohio State); and a second cousin, Brandon Gipson, was a defensive back at Colorado between 1999 and 2001. He has been a CU fan since he was eight years old, with one of his favorite Buffs growing up being Rashaan Salaam, the 1994 Heisman Trophy winner; it was a natural, as his father’s sister is married to Salaam’s father’s brother. In high school, he was a member of Jack & Jill of America, a national youth service organization dedicated to improving quality of life, particularly for African-American children. Recognized as a 2002 Genteel Beaux: Young Man of Distinction, he volunteered at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham and regularly visits Children’s Hospital in Denver handing out gifts. He is also an active participant in CU’s Read With The Buffs program.