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“Proud Owl” Thompson Leaves Temple a Better Place

Written by: on Friday, January 6th, 2017. Follow Don Leypoldt on Twitter.


Originally run in the January 5th Bucks County Herald


Colin Thompson was never about the numbers.

The tight end from Doylestown finished the Temple season with “only” three catches for 43 yards…although Thompson snagged a touchdown in the Owls’ crucial 46-30 win against conference foe South Florida.

The ultimate team player, Thompson could care less that his receptions decreased in each of the last three seasons. His impact increased (italics) each season. The 6’4”, 255 pounder started 13 games in 2016 and 10 in 2015. He relished his role as an unglamorous sixth offensive lineman.

“This may sound cliché but I really do whatever they ask me to do,” Thompson said passionately. “It works well for me and it was my role for our team at Archbishop Wood. Fortunately, I have a great tight ends coach and a great group of tight ends and fullbacks- our short yardage, physical group. It’s easy with those guys. We all put on our hard hat and go to work.”

Temple needed Thompson’s big body because these Owls would rather run then fly. Temple ranked 21st in the country in the number of rushing plays in 2016.

“I love the balance,” Thompson said. “Running to set up the pass instead of passing to set up the run has worked well for us. In the fourth quarter, teams can play our physical style but it’s hard to matchup with our tight ends and fullbacks and then defend the play action pass to our wideouts.”

In 2016, Temple quietly strung together consecutive 10 win seasons for the first time ever. The Owls handled Navy 34-10 at Annapolis on December 3, giving the Cherry and the White their first outright conference title since the LBJ administration.

“It’s really special. Our coaches harped that everything happens for a reason,” Thompson explained. “It’s funny- in my first game here, we lost to Navy and their triple option. We lost our first game this year to Army and their triple option. We lost last year in the conference championship to Houston. We learned from our mistakes and it came full circle.

“We had the opportunity to stop Navy’s triple option and our defense played unbelievably,” he continued. “Offensively, we were able to stay on the field on third and fourth downs, which is huge (italics) against a team like Navy that predicates on possessions.”

Temple (10-4) fell to Wake Forest 34-26 in the December 27 Military Bowl. Had the Owls won, they would have set a Temple season record for wins.

“Last year in the Miami Beach Bowl, we were focused on the game but we maybe didn’t prepare as hard as we wanted too, and we’ve corrected that,” Thompson noted in early December. “We’re preparing hard right now.”

But as a senior donning his Owl wings for the final time, Thompson can also reflect and appreciate. “We’ll spend time together because this really is the last time that we’ll be together. I may only see some of these guys three or four times for the rest of my life. We seniors really appreciate the underclass that grew and stepped up,” Thompson pointed out. “We wouldn’t have the ring without them.

“People don’t understand that when you go to the bowl, school is over. You don’t have anything in the back of your mind and you can just hang with the guys and focus on ball,” Thompson continued. “We have a special group of guys here and they were special before I came. They accepted me. We’ve had ups and downs, but the downs bring you closer together. The wins are celebrated. Wake Forest presents a ton of issues offensively and defensively but we’re excited to play against them.”

Thompson helped to lead Archbishop Wood to a state title in 2011. He was one of the most coveted recruits in the country and he captained the Under Armour All-American game. Thompson signed with Florida.

But the end of the 2013 season was difficult for both Thompson and Temple. Thompson was unable to see the field because of foot injuries. Temple went 2-10.

Thompson received a medical hardship waiver, transferred, and saw significant action for the Owls in 2014.

“I didn’t really know the Temple Way and process,” Thompson admitted, “but I looked around my first day of practice and thought ‘There is so much talent here.’ I was not surprised, but really happy to see that there was such talent at Temple since it was my local school and a great group.”

Thompson already has his Communications degree, but he dreams of communicating on Sundays in front of 80,000 fans. “I’m going to pursue my dream of the NFL and move forward with that,” Thompson explained. “That will come with training, and then a Pro Day in March.”

At least one knowledgeable football person is bullish on what lies ahead for Thompson. “Colin Thompson is one of the greatest kids I have ever coached,” emailed Wood head coach Steve Devlin. “Take football out of the equation and you won’t meet a better person to be a face of your team. He’s been an impact wherever he has been and he has such a bright future.”


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