Sooner-turned-Ute Kendal Thompson is eager to prove himself
Kendal’s father believes the Utes are getting a guy who understands what it takes to be successful at the highest level of college football. He noted the tradition at Oklahoma, where the Sooners project themselves and how they go about their business, an environment Kendal has been engulfed in the past three years.
“I think Utah is getting a very, very seasoned guy who has the ability, I think, once given the opportunity, to be a superstar in my opinion,” Charles said. “I just don’t want to say things just to be saying them because he’s my son but I think that anyone will tell you that he certainly has the skill sets and the ability to be a phenomenal quarterback.”
While acknowledging that Kendal’s injury and the way things worked out at Oklahoma perhaps wasn’t meant to be, Charles is proud of how his son handled things.
“He didn’t hold his head down in that situation. He decided to do what he thought was best for him and we went about a process of seeking that,” Charles said. “I feel really good and comfortable about not only what, No. 1, he’s bringing to Utah, but what Utah’s going to bring for him. That’s just the ability and opportunity to compete on the highest level and get a chance to show what he can do on the football field.”
In that regard, Charles believes that Kendal is a more well-rounded football player than he was back in the day.
“I think because, obviously, a lot of it is natural. He certainly doesn’t have the top-end speed that I had, but I think he’s certainly got the lateral movement and the quickness,” Charles said. “But I think what he does have is a mind that has a unbelievable ability to process things at a calm and high rate. He’s got a certain calmness about him. So it allows him to be in control at all times on the field.”
It’s served him well off the field, too.
Kendal’s post-Oklahoma recruitment involved a matrix, of sorts, that father and son put together to make a wise choice. Charles admits that Utah wasn’t really a factor initially because of distance. But more research and a concerted recruiting effort continually gave the Utes high marks with the Thompsons and eventually won them over.
Christensen was one of the first coaches to contact them. He and Whittingham later made an in-house visit.
“They had done their homework on Kendal and they knew exactly what they were getting and why they wanted to pursue him,” Charles said.
It turned out that Kendal’s first high school offensive coordinator was also a big fan of Christensen and his coaching philosophies. In the end, it all added up to a recruiting success for Utah.
Louisville, whose offensive coordinator Garrick McGee has a good relationship with Charles, and Vanderbilt, with offensive coordinator Karl Dorrell, were the other schools the Thompsons felt would give Kendal the best opportunity to be an impact player.
Even so, the decision to leave Norman, Oklahoma, wasn’t easy.
“Obviously, I didn’t want to transfer from Oklahoma, but I did what I had to do. I just looked at it as a business decision,” Kendal said. “Utah gave me everything I was looking for going into it. So I’m just excited to finally get out there and see what I can do.”
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