Derek Thompson came out on top yet again on Monday.
The senior overcame adversity and doubts about his ability. He hung in there when times got tough.
Thompson is UNT’s starting quarterback for at least the first week of the season and the Mean Green’s game against Idaho.
And that should surprise absolutely no one.
Playing quarterback at UNT has been a pretty tough job when one thinks about it. Since Scott Hall graduated after the 2004 season, UNT has gone through a seemingly endless string or players at the position without enjoying much success, including Daniel Meager and Matt Phillips. Woody Wilson led UNT to a win over SMU and then vanished. Giovanni Vizza got fed up and quit during the one of the worst eras in program history. Riley Dodge never lived up to the hype and transferred after his father was fired.
One has to admire Thompson at least for his longevity as a potential three-year starter. Look at it objectively and one has to credit him for his performance at times as well. Thompson wasn’t considered an elite quarterback in the Sun Belt, but ranks among the top 10 players in UNT history in pretty much every major statistical category for quarterbacks.
He’s thrown for 4,551 yards and overcome a lot to get there. The broken leg he suffered in a loss to Army a couple of years ago was pretty horrific.
Thompson has also faced doubts at every turn over the last few years and answered them all.
There were a lot of people who wrote Thompson off after Brock Berglund transferred to UNT.
Yet, it’s Thompson who is still standing in the quarterback race as UNT prepares for its season opener.
I will have a pretty extensive feature on Thompson in the DRC’s annual preseason magazine that will come out later this week.
One comment Thompson made during one of the times I talked to him for the story that I didn’t use in the story stuck with me.
“What has happened to me made a tough person mentally,” Thompson said. “College football is not for everyone. You take a beating. I have not had the Johnny Manziel type of season. That has helped me grow. I have taken my lumps and come back stronger and better.”
He’s also come back as UNT’s starting quarterback.
There is something to be said for that.