It’s officially happening! With all of the headlines coming out of the university of Oregon, this is the biggest one: Kayvon Thibodeaux declares for the 2022 NFL Draft. Not only is this a big loss for Oregon, it’s a huge gain for the NFL. Why? Thibodeaux is the projected number one pick in the draft. The next time fans will see Thibodeaux on the football field will be in the fall as he also announced that he will not be participating in the Alamo bowl game against the Oklahoma Sooners. So who is Kayvon Thibodeaux? Let’s review!
Freshman year dominance
Kayvon Thibodeaux’s freshman year at Oregon will be remembered for years to come. His breakout game came against the University of California, Berkeley where he had three total tackles (two solo, one assisted), two sacks, and a forced fumble. Leading up to this game he was already showing signs of dominance but finally broke out. Despite having two slow games after the 17-7 victory over Cal, Thibodeaux’s presence was felt on the field. He’d help lead Oregon to a PAC-12 championship where he would have two and a half sacks against the Utah Utes and five total tackles as well. He would help lead Oregon to a Rose Bowl victory over the Wisconsin Badgers. For his freshman year, he tallied 34 total tackles (23 solo, 11 assisted), nine sacks and one forced fumble. He was named the PAC-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year!
A Covid ridden Sophomore season
Nothing was normal about Thibodeaux’s sophomore season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. His sacks were down, and games played were also down. Oregon only played seven games that season including the PAC-12 championship and their bowl game. This didn’t stop Thibodeaux from being a tackling machine. In the shortened season, Thibodeaux racked up 32 total tackles (19 solo, 13 assisted) and three sacks. Thibodeaux lead Oregon to back to back PAC-12 Championships. He would be awarded the Morris Trophy and be named first-team All-PAC-12. He was also the MVP of the PAC-12 Championship game.
The last dance at Oregon
In what would be Thibodeaux’s final season, he went out the way he came in. Dominant. Despite suffering a sprained ankle in the first game of the season, Thibodeaux would not miss a beat once he came back. His best game came against the UCLA Bruins. In this game, Thibodeaux could not be stopped as he had nine total tackles (eight solo, one assisted), two sacks and one forced fumble. The UCLA offense had no answer for him. Thibodeaux would have a near repeat performance just a few weeks later against the Washington State Cougars. In Thibodeaux’s final game, the PAC-12 Championship game against the Utah Utes, he had three solo tackles and one sack in a losing effort. For his career, Thibodeaux ended up with 122 total tackles (82 solo, 40 assisted), seven passes defended, 19 sacks and three forced fumbles.
Now that it’s official, the Detroit Lions will most likely draft Kayvon Thibodeaux in the upcoming draft. Years ago, the Lions drafted Ndamukong Suh. Now, they most likely get Kayvon Thibodeaux who most likely will be just as dominant if not more dominant than Suh was for Detroit.
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-Matt Burnett (@mattthew_jordan on Twitter)