Playing for Pittsburg State University has been on his agenda all of his life but don’t think Kyler Thompson will be “playing in the shadow” of his father and uncle.
Thompson signed a na-tional letter of intent Wed-nesday morning to play football for the NCAA Division II Pittsburg State team.
“It (Pitt State) always felt like home,” Thompson said of his decision. “I went to games there since I was little and everything seemed right when I took my visit.”
Thompson, a 6-2, 220-pound Iola High senior, has family history at PSU. His parents, Kent and Susan Thompson of LaHarpe, both graduated from the university. Kent and his brother Kurt Thompson were all-conference linebackers for the Gorillas in the 1980s.
“I didn’t really influence Kyler. It was up to him where he wanted to go,” Kent Thompson said. “Wherever he wanted to go, we’d work trying to get him there. Now that he has signed with Pittsburg State, I believe it’s a good fit for him.”
So does new PSU head coach Tim Beck.
“Kyler is big and strong and physical on the football field. Since I played with both his father and uncle at Pittsburg State, we wanted to take an extra look at Kyler and when we evaluated him, we knew he was the type of player we wanted on our team,” Beck told the Register in a Wednesday afternoon telephone interview.
“Kyler has made a lot of tackles for Iola High school in his four years. We’re excited to have him at Pittsburg State.”
Beck was named PSU’s 14th head football coach in December following the retirement of Chuck Broyles. Beck had served as assistant head coach and was offensive coordinator for the Gorillas for 16 seasons.
Thompson has been a four-year starter for the Mustangs with over 500 ca-reer tackles as an inside linebacker.
He led the Iola defense in tackles the past three seasons. As a senior he had seven quarterback sacks. He also recorded three career interceptions and four fumble recoveries.
Thompson earned Southeast Kansas League honors the past three season — first team linebacker as a sophomore and a senior. He received Kansas All-Class 4A state honors as a senior.
Thompson said he had scholarship offers from all the area community college football programs and had contact from Kansas State.
“I’m bigger than most at linebacker and I’m a run stopper,” said Thompson about what he can take into the PSU program.
Beck said Thompson could be developed into a defensive end or stay at inside linebacker. It depended on which way he decided to take the Gorilla defense.
Thompson, who is undecided on a major at PSU, is among 27 high school seniors signed Wednesday by Pittsburg State.
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