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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Seattle Times: Kennedy Thompson

By Matt Massey
Special to The Seattle Times

Few question Everette Thompson's talent. But there's still one nagging query the senior standout from Kennedy High School can't avoid — virtually the only one he can't answer with an emphatic yes.

"Are you a relative of Jack Thompson?"

He isn't. But the common threads start with raw talent, the Samoan heritage and the same last name. Two football stars from different generations went to high schools 2 miles apart and played home games at Highline Memorial Stadium in Burien.

The fast, talented defensive end doesn't mind being asked if he's related to Jack Thompson, the former quarterback at Evergreen High School of White Center and Washington State dubbed "The Throwin' Samoan" in the 1970s.

"It's flattering, because I respect everything he accomplished," Everette Thompson said of the question he hears so often, particularly from college recruiters.

Thompson, stirred by the prospect of an NCAA Division I scholarship and attention after a banner junior season, is out to make a name for himself now.

"He's the quietest, nicest kid off the field, but when he gets on the field, he's not nice," Kennedy coach Bob Bourgette said of his 6-foot-5, 250-pound star speed rusher. "I think he's a great tight end, but he wants to play defense and colleges want him to play defense.

"With his frame, colleges project he'll be 290 or 300 pounds. They love his foot speed, so they'll just put him in the weight room and watch him grow."

He's the next in line for the most famous Thompson hailing from the state. The Kennedy standout has been pursued by many major programs and narrowed his list from 12 schools to five — Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, California and Boise State.

"It's been fun getting a lot of attention," said Thompson, who was All-Seamount both ways as a sophomore and a junior and was Class 3A all-state as a junior on defense. "I've been enjoying it."

During the recruiting period, when coaches could contact Thompson, text messages seemed to come nonstop from head coaches, including Washington's Tyrone Willingham and Oregon's Mike Belotti, and assistants.

"Texts in the morning and the afternoon, and they'd call at school," said Thompson, who visited Boise State last weekend. "I never thought I'd be in this position, because I just played for fun at first."

Thompson, who can bench-press 350 pounds and squat 500, anchored a defense that helped the Lancers to a 13-1 record and a spot in the Class 3A state-championship game, which they lost to unbeaten state power Bellevue 21-14 in overtime. The Lancers from Burien held Seamount opponents to 10.9 points and 160.8 yards per game in winning the league title at 7-0. As a tight end on offense, Thompson caught 10 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns.

Kennedy is likely to pass less this season, with speedster Nolan Washington moving to quarterback, so Thompson might do most of his damage on defense as a senior.

"I like playing defense, because it's more instinctive to me," said the fourth-year starter. "Defense is definitely more natural for me."

That's surely what college coaches see, even if he isn't related to another talented Thompson from a generation ago.

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