Iowa City, Iowa — To say western Iowa defensive tackle Terrio Thompson came out of nowhere and signed a Big Ten football scholarship from Iowa is a devaluing cliché.
Thompson grew up in Dubuque, on the Iowa-Wisconsin line about 80 miles northeast of the city of Iowa. His high school, Dubuque, Hempstead, is in the same league as the Iowa City public schools, and he participates in one of the state’s largest conferences. But Thompson was as obscure a footballer as possible, even in a sparsely populated state with two major colleges and a handful of major college prospects.
“Iowa had coaches and he was from Dubuque and they didn’t know he was coming out,” Iowa Western coach Scott Strohmeyer said. “That’s how he was really under the radar.”
There were a number of reasons why Thompson (6-foot-3, 290 pounds) was overlooked, and some were down to him. He wasn’t into football early in his high school career, and didn’t like making defensive tackles for double teams. and lost five games in his junior year. After his return, he suffered a concussion and was withheld from competing, so he quit.
Only a change in coaching and urging from friends made him reconsider playing football in his senior year at Hempstead.
“My new head coach[Jeff Horner]who was my school advisor, persuaded some of the teammates I used to play my freshman and sophomore years to come back to me. “They did, but it was the best decision of my life.”
Thompson’s final season coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, so college coaches weren’t able to see him in person. He finished with 37 tackles, including seven losses. Thompson helped the team reach the playoffs, but he lacked high-profile stats, resume, and postseason accolades. However, he enjoys sports and wanted to evaluate his college options.
“My name started to spread, but my GPA was bad,” Thompson said. “My coach didn’t give me an offer, but I knew I wanted to go. Coach Hoerner did a great job getting my name out there on jucos.”
Iowa has several junior college programs that regularly produce Division 1 talent, but none beats Iowa Western. Strohmeyer and his staff ooze enough talent that he regularly redshirts players so they can get a year of schoolwork done without sacrificing eligibility for Division I programs. We have built a national powerhouse.
— 𝕋𝕖𝕣𝕚𝕠5️⃣4 (@ThompsonAnterio) December 20, 2022
In Thompson’s case, he wore a red shirt during his first year, but he entered the program with dedication. Division I coaches regularly watched practices and kept an eye on everyone, even those who weren’t playing on Saturdays. Thompson took it to heart.
“In high school, I wasn’t the best student academically or as a person,” Thompson said. “I was in the hallway, skipping classes. I wasn’t a real role model. I came to Iowa Western thinking this was my last chance. And I made the most of it.” So when he puts me in a redshirt, I’m like, ‘I’m in a redshirt, I’m not playing with the team, I’m just being lazy.’ I knew it wasn’t the kind of year. I bowed my head. I went to the gym every day. i did my homework i went to class I started a great year with a 3.5 GPA. I knew I was growing up. “
Thompson has gained weight, is more physical, and has matured into one of the Iowa Western’s best line-of-scrimmage players in 2021, even as a redshirt. He started getting attention from his practice methods to visiting coaches.
“He came in with the mindset of ‘Hey football and school’ and that’s what he did,” Strohmeyer said. “He could have played for us last fall. Being able to fight 3v3 can also be beneficial.
“Anterio wasn’t what people would call the Juco kid. But middle school kids sometimes have stigma. He never had a problem off the field. was named RA in the suite this year, which he eventually turned down because it would affect fall camp, so he said, ‘I need the money, but it doesn’t affect me playing football at the same time. I can’t give it to you.’
Thompson has put together a great campaign for Fall 2022. He finished with his 32 tackles, including his 10 tackles and 6 sacks, and the Ravers earned his NJCAA victory over Hutchinson, Kansas Community his college on December 14, as he defeated his college 31-0. Won the championship. Thompson was named a second-team All-American. In the 247Sports Composite, the junior defensive of his college ranked fourth in his tackle prospects and ninth overall.
In early fall, Thompson attracted offers from Nebraska, Kansas, North Carolina, Washington, and Illinois. But there was only one program he wanted to play, and only one assistant his coach. Defensive he line coach Kelvin Bell was in Iowa.
“There was no real need within the company at the time, so we put him on the back burner,” said Tyler Burns, Iowa’s director of recruiting. He did a great job with us, he wanted to be here more than anywhere else, he was waiting for us.
“KB told me so I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, whatever. We offered him and he’s going to visit.'”
I’m in Yo City!!!!!🐤🖤 pic.twitter.com/ULeCYWJRxS
— 𝕋𝕖𝕣𝕚𝕠5️⃣4 (@ThompsonAnterio) December 16, 2022
Bell frequently visited Iowa Western, about 250 miles west of the city of Iowa, to develop a relationship with Thompson. They texted frequently, and after Hawkeye’s goodbye week in October, the offer finally came.At midnight on October 29, his 20th birthday, Thompson flew to Iowa to decided to go.
“I already trusted him,” Thompson said of Bell. “He was one of the first people to show interest. I knew I wanted to go to Iowa.
“Sure enough, we made him the offer and three days later he committed,” says Barnes. “He’s a great kid. He was 287 pounds this weekend. He looks like he’s 250 years old.
Thompson’s path to Iowa is similar to that taken by Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and unanimous First Team All-American in 2020 Daviyon Nixon. I played at Iowa appealed the ruling, and Nixon said he was allowed to register in January 2018. Nixon was redshirted that year, and in 2019 he played as a rotation defensive tackle, and in 2020 he became the most dominant defensive tackle in the nation.
“They’re both pretty athletic for their size. I think that’s some of the similarities,” Strohmeyer said. “They are strong. They came with different stories. had to earn.
“Having many offers he received before he played the Snap for us shows how dominant he was in spring practice.”
Thompson’s official visit two days after winning the NJCAA title had an almost frightening parallel. Thompson wears his No. 54 just like Nixon, and the photos he poses with show an odd resemblance, especially in the way both defenders filled out their uniforms.
“He’s got a big personality too, like Dabillon,” Barnes said. “When I was talking to him, I saw him in his jersey and I was like, ‘Oh my God, is this Davillon or Anthelio?
“I talked to Bellcoach about it,” Thompson said. “I want to be myself. ”
After passing two classes in the winter semester, Thompson will enroll at the University of Iowa in January, earning an associate’s degree and remaining eligible for three years. He already stands tall in a grown way. Now is the time to reap the benefits of his efforts.
(Photo credit: HawkeyeSports.com)