All-American Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson has decided to forgo his senior year and enter the 2015 draft, according to a press release from the team. In a statement, Thompson said that the move to turn pro “was not an easy decision,” but that he’s looking forward to “facing new challenges that come with being in the NFL.”
“Shaq Thompson has been a wonderful representative of the University of Washington and the Husky football team, and he has our full support as he takes this important step,” said head coach Chris Petersen in a statement. “I look forward to what’s to come for him and to watching him embark on what will be a long, successful NFL career.”
Thompson, who has averaged about 74 tackles per season in his three years at Washington, projects as a first-round pick in the spring, with CBSSports.com ranking him 10th overall, and first among outside linebackers. In his first mock draft of the season, ESPN’s Todd McShay has Thompson coming off the board 16th to the Dolphins, and writes that the linebacker is a “unique talent,” with the ability to provide strong pass coverage and to defend the run from sideline to sideline.