Cody Thompson is the most recent confoundingly under-recruited player in my summer profile series. He was a do-it-all two-star-recruit from Huron, Ohio. His high school highlights are quite enjoyable. He played wide receiver as a sophomore, catching 48 passes for 865 yards, and scored 11 times. He then switched positions as a junior and was a dual-threat quarterback that displayed great vision, agility, and strength as a runner when he would take off. If he couldn’t put the ball in the end zone, he also doubled as his team’s punter and averaged 44.6 yards per punt! 247Sports ranked him as the 3,233rd best player in the 2014 class. Toledo was the only team that offered him a scholarship. He had this to say about that, “I always held myself to higher expectations than anyone else, I didn’t have any other offers (out of high school), but that didn’t stop me or deter me from being who I am… I approached every day to give it my all and be the best person and player on and off the field that I could be, everything else will kind of take care of itself if I did that — so that was the mentality I had going into it, and it’s kind of paid off.” His former quarterback and close friend, Logan Woodside, had this to say about how he believes that has impacted him, “I think he’s kept that in the back of his mind, even still to this day — that he has something to prove, even if he’ll never say it… And he goes into the weight room, the practice field and into the classroom — that’s his mindset. Cody wants to be the best, and no one or thing is going to stop him from where he wants to go.”
Thompson played sparingly as a true freshman. He participated in all thirteen games but only made four catches. As a sophomore, he was second on the team with 37 catches. He made the most of those catches as he racked up 825 yards (22.3 yards per reception) and scored five touchdowns. That season set the stage for his breakout season as a junior in 2016. Thompson finished that year with 64-1269-11 and proved that he was one of the most productive and dangerous receivers in college football. Academics have always been important to him, and he elected to return in 2017 to finish his degree and also play for a championship. He was off to a terrific start in 2017. Through four games, he had 27-505-4, including 5-114-0 against the Miami Hurricanes. Unfortunately, he broke his right leg early in their fifth game against Eastern Michigan. Thompson had a decision to make after being granted a fifth year of eligibility. He elected to return to Toledo, get his degree, play another year with his teammates, and earn an all-star game invite to show that he can compete with the best of the best at the Senior Bowl.
Toledo’s staff has been cautious in bringing him back from injury. Thompson had this to say this spring, “Everything is going really well, I honestly feel like I could play if we had a game today. But I’m just kind of following the trainers’ protocol and what they have me doing. They have done a great job getting me this far and I kind of just have to put my faith in them, and when they let me progress as they see fit, that’s kind of what I’m following right now, but I feel really good.” One thing that NFL teams will look at in players that they may be considering in the middle-to-late parts of the draft is their character and ability to be a quality teammate. Toledo Head Coach, Jason Candle had this to say about him, “Cody is a tremendous leader… He probably brings more to the table off the field from a leadership standpoint than he does on the field, and that is saying a lot because we all know that he is a great player. He’s a guy that is really committed. I’m excited to have him back, and it’s really good to see his competitive spirit back out there with him running around with the guys and doing what he loves to do.”
Given Thompson’s work ethic, it comes as no surprise he is a route running craftsman. In the below clip, he creates a mile of separation on a sweet comeback route.
Top screen: Cody Thompson's vertical push gets CB to start retreating. Nice job dropping his weight on the comeback. pic.twitter.com/PuJIecdM7B
— Ty Wurth (@WurthDraft) July 17, 2017
His bread and butter are double moves. It creates such a dilemma for defensive backs and one of the reasons why he is so open in the above clip.
Double move from Toledo WR Cody Thompson. Averaged 19.8 YPC in 2016. pic.twitter.com/1mBFzx51D4
— Ty Wurth (@WurthDraft) April 2, 2017
Once Thompson gets open, he is tough to bring down.
He is listed at 6’2” and 205 pounds. He has the skill set to play several receiver positions. Toledo will move him around some, and throughout my studies, it appears he plays primarily on the outside. However, I think he could be a lethal player out of the slot at the next level. He has the fearless mentality to go across the middle, and he is excellent after the catch. His releases are already so good that if you give him free ones, you’re done.
Cody Thompson is so good. Nice route, attacks the ball in the air over the middle, takes a hit, stays up and gets YAC. pic.twitter.com/nHaj8W5pxA
— Ty Wurth (@WurthDraft) September 1, 2017
Thompson is physically very strong. He can bench 350 pounds and has recorded a 37-inch vertical leap. Bruce Feldman included him in his “Freaks List” before the start of the 2017 season. The combine should be his friend. He hasn’t been asked to catch a lot of jump balls, but he regularly shows excellent concentration, ball tracking, and strong hands.
Thompson has reportedly run a 4.54 forty-yard-dash. I don’t think he will run anything faster than unless his broken leg over-heals and he pulls a Henry Roengardner in Rookie of The Year. The MAC is a challenge for me to evaluate wide receivers. There is often minimal talent in the secondaries so if you are a good wide receiver; you will often feast on inferior talent. The fact that Thompson had five catches for 114 yards against Miami is very encouraging. He mentioned one of the reasons that he returned in 2018 was to be able to compete in an all-star-game following the season. I believe that will be a very important audition for him and one that I think he will nail. Former Washington WR, Dante Pettis, was a technician as a route runner and I think that Thompson is one of the few players I’ve watched in the 2019 class that has shown similar proficiency. Toledo will break in a new QB this season so there will be additional challenges for Thompson to match his outstanding 2016 season. That being said, I am confident that he has the talent and opportunity to be a top ten player in terms of production in 2018. Between Thompson, Diontae Johnson, and Shakif Seymour, Toledo will have one of the most talented trios of any team in the group of five conferences. Thompson is very inexpensive in devy leagues right now. In my opinion, he is one of the most underrated players in a very talented 2019 WR class. There is a good chance that he will be talked about amongst owner’s favorite round three or later rookie draft pick in the summer of 2019.