It always hurts to lose a player of Bryan Thompson's abilities. Adding insult to injury would be Utah not only losing him from the roster but also having to face him down the road.
That's the exact scenario the Utes find themselves after Thompson announced via Twitter that he will be suiting up for Pac-12 South foe Arizona State.
Thompson made an immediate impact as a true freshman back in 2017 when he caught five passes for 77 yards. Although meager stats through 12 games, he did showcase the sort of playmaking ability that gave way to excitement for what the future may hold.
He redshirted in 2018 due a multitude of injuries, but was still able to play in four games where caught one pass for 31 yards in the Holiday Bowl.
The following year in 2019 was Thompson's coming out party. It's when he was able to showoff his vast array of skills after he caught 18 passes for 461 yards and three scores, numbers that ranked second on the team behind tight end Brant Kuithe. His 25.6 yards per catch was tops in the nation for receivers who had at least 15 catches on the year.
With expectations high for the 2020 season, Thompson's year was largely disappointing. He finished with 9 catches for 187 yards and one score, often looking largely upset with his role on offense — or lack thereof.
Too often did Thompson find himself open and too often did quarterback Jake Bentley misfire. Multiple times throughout the year could Thompson be seen shaking his head in disbelief and disappointment.
He will finish his career as a Ute with 33 catches for 756 yards and four scores — numbers that more likely resemble what one would expect season statistics to look like rather than career ones.
Thompson will look to become Arizona State's next big-time receiver after players such as N'Keal Harry, Brandon Aiyuk and soon-to-be-drafted Frank Darby have all gone on to the NFL.
He will join a rising young quarterback in Jayden Daniels and a young but talented receiving core with players such as Johnny Wilson, Elijhah Badger, LV Bunkley-Shelton and Chad Johnson Jr. Thompson is the veteran of the group and is expected to see action right away.
On the other hand, Utah will still have plenty of options at wide receiver with Britain Covey, Solomon Enis, Samson Nacua, Devaughn Vele, Money Parks and incoming freshman Makai Cope. But none of them can recreate Thompson's size, athleticism and skillset.
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