The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 31, 2014

Thompson's move is the best for him

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — One can understand Kendal Thompson’s decision to transfer from the University of Oklahoma.

Only history will tell if it’s the right decision or not.

Since he’s graduating in May, Thompson will be immediately eligible whether he goes and with two years of eligibility left, he could be a valuable commodity.

Thompson has accomplished the one goal all student athletes should have — graduating. That in the long run will be more valauble to his future than whatever he accomplished on the field.

He would face an uphill fight to be the starter at OU anytime.

Trevor Knight, thanks an impressive performance at the Sugar Bowl, has established himself as the quarterback with the Sooners.

Thompson may be forever one of those “what if’’ stories after breaking a foot in the early days of fall practice when he was in a tight competition with Knight and Blake Bell for the starter’s job.

Some thought Thompson might have won the job if he wasn’t injured, but Knight, who threw for 375 yards in beating Alabama was clearly the Sooners’ best quarterback. The only negative about Knight is injuries — he left two games this season after being hurt.

Thompson, who got to play in only two games in his three years at OU, basically had the choice of whether he wanted to be a backup with the Sooners or play somewhere else.

History shows mixed results on those who chose to leave.

Tommy Grady, after being beaten out by Rhett Bomar in 2005, chose to transfer to Utah.

Grady saw limited action as a junior (7 of 14 passing for 102 yards and one TD) and got to play more as a senior (57 of 114 for 662 yards and four TDs). I wonder what he was thinking in 2006 when Bomar was dismissed from the Sooners for violating NCAA rules?

Drew Allen chose Thompson’s route, moving to Syracuse for one season after graduating in the spring of 2013.

He began the season as the Orange’s starter, but would eventually lose the job. He did complete 68 of 122 passes for 666 yards and two touchdowns. He threw nine interceptions.

Allen did get to go to a bowl game (Texas Bowl in Houston). It would be safe to say he wouldn’t have gotten to play that much if he stayed at OU.

Noah Allen, who was in the 2002 recruiting class, left OU in 2003 after playing in only three games. He would play two seasons at Sam Houston State, completing 35 of 65 passes for 497 yards and three touchdowns,

Bomar would go on to a successful career at Sam Houston after OU, leaving as the school’s all-time career passing leader (5,564 yards) and the total offense leader (6,159 yards).

His leaving opened the way for not-so-highly recruited Sam Bradford, who would win the Heisman Trophy in 2008, which would have been Bomar’s senior season.

That worked out well for the Sooners.

Paul Thompson (no relationship to Kendal), though, is an example of “if you stay, you play.’’

Thompson, beaten out by Bomar in 2005 after backing up Jason White for two years, was set to be a wide receiver before Bomar’s dismissal. He would lead the Sooners to the Big 12 championship.

Joey Halzle was a backup for three years after transferring from Golden West Community College. He saw little action, but is a part of the coaching staff — something that might not have happened if he transferred.

Of course, Troy Aikman left OU after breaking his leg in 1985 and went on to stardom at UCLA and with the Dallas Cowboys.

To each his own.

Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.