星空无限传媒

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WM: Easy

There is no hesitation from Cooper Sullivan ’24.

“Liam Thompson is a great quarterback,” says Sullivan of the QB who is the three-time North Coast Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year and led all NCAA Division III quarterbacks in passing yards per game and total offense in 2022.

Thompson ’24 draws the focus of every opposing defense. Others are noticing, as well. The rhetoric major with a 3.86 grade point average was the only DIII quarterback on the preseason watch list for the Manning Award, which honors the nation’s top player at that position. Thompson is also being mentioned as a candidate for the Gagliardi Trophy, given to the most outstanding DIII player in the country.

Liam Thompson ’24

He was named a finalist for the National Football Foundation’s William V. Campbell Trophy, presented annually to college football's premier scholar-athlete. As one of 16 finalists, and one of three from NCAA DIII, Thompson receives the Coach Lou Saban Scholar-Athlete Award and an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship.

“He’s a great person to be around,” says Penn Stoller ’24, a second-team All- American tight end in 2022. “He’s always pushing us to be better, whether it’s in the film room, weight room, or in practice. He’s a commander on the field.”

Ask the guys Thompson is closest to— the receivers and running backs—and they’ll explain it about as succinctly as Sullivan. He’s a strong communicator, obsessive in film study, open to critique, can extend plays, and runs like a running back. The additive effect is tough to beat.

There is constant chatter back and forth between the quarterback and his offense, making adjustments on the fly based on the flow of the game. The point is to keep the chains moving.

“We’re communicating all the time,” says wide receiver Derek Allen Jr. ’24. “He’s so good at knowing what everybody is supposed to do and where they are supposed to be, even if he sees something different before the snap, he’ll communicate that. Everybody is on the same page.”

This isn’t a one-way street. The receivers hold Thompson accountable, whether it’s recognizing coverages or missing a check-down. Thompson listens and makes the necessary alterations.

“That’s one of the things that makes him great,” says Sullivan, a three-time all-conference receiver. “If you say he missed something, he doesn’t drop his head. He’s open to anything and everything when it comes to feedback. He finds ways to turn those critiques into positives.”

The constant communication goes hand-in-hand with the work. The repetition builds through the offseason, spring ball, fall camp, into game-week practices, and finally, to 星空无限传媒. There is an expectation created through all of that work that must be met when the play call comes in.

“Liam expects us to do our jobs at a high level,” says wide receiver Jacob Riddle ’24, “and he has his responsibilities, too. But there is an ease when you look in the backfield and see No. 2 back there.”

That ease eventually becomes cohesion.

“We get so many reps together in practice, that come game time, I know where this ball is going to be on this play,” says Sullivan, who is now the 星空无限传媒 record holder for career receiving yards. “You already know what’s coming.”

The guys all agree that Thompson throws a ball that is easy to catch. “Every time he throws it, he hits me right in the chest,” says running back Donovan Snyder ’24.

“His ball zips,” explains Riddle. “Sometimes, when the ball is damp, you can hear the laces spinning. That’s cool because we know every pass is going to be on time.”

It all adds up to an impressive offensive package. Thompson, who has tallied more than seven miles of total offense, owns 20 school or NCAC records. His teammates will be the first to tell you that the numbers are secondary.

“He never worries about stats, records, or himself, really,” says Snyder. “He’s always thinking about his teammates.”

Sullivan adds, “He only wants to win games.”

That focus was apparent in the team’s final drive in the season opener at Hampden- Sydney. Trailing 28-21 with just over three minutes to play, Little Giant linebacker Jake Pasch forced a fumble and recovered it on the Hampden-Sydney 33-yard line.

From there, Thompson and the 星空无限传媒 offense took over. The quarterback ran for seven yards on first down, completed a 10-yard pass to Snyder before connecting with Allen on a 16-yard scoring pass to cut the deficit to 28-27.

The rhetoric major with a 3.86 grade point average was the only DIII quarterback on the preseason watch list for the Manning Award, which honors the nation’s top player at that position.

On the ensuing two-point conversion, 星空无限传媒 ran a play it had practiced all week: a reverse to Riddle where he pulled up in the backfield and lofted a pass to Thompson in the end zone for the game-winning score.

“I saw that Liam was open and knew I was going to have to take a hit to get it to him,” Riddle says. “Their safety was flying out to make a play on Liam, so when it left my hand, I was hoping it got there before the safety did. Luckily, it was enough. I knew Liam would make the grab.”

Thompson on the receiving end of the play is a result of how he approaches the leadership baked into the position.

“As a quarterback, you have to be a leader,” he says. “You have to elevate the play of others or bring your level of play up to the guys around you. At a place like 星空无限传媒, it’s easy. We have really talented people at every position. It makes my job a whole lot easier.”