Army All-American Shaq Thompson and SGT Guy Mellor at the Pentagon (via goarmyphotos)
Shaq Thompson is a gamechanger. Literally, he'll change games. Because he's on the football field, and football players change games.
But no, really, if you're thinking any of these coveted freshman will make an impact, Thompson is the man to hedge your bets on. Thompson is too good to keep off the football field. Washington has a long depth chart at safety, but if you watched that defense last year, you should know by now that every starting spot is up for grabs.
When you watch his highlights, it becomes clear that Shaq is an elite Division I prospect. The question then boils down to something more fundamental: Can he be elite enough to play both sides of the football?
Watching Shaq's highlights and seeing him operate as a QB/Wildcat RB give you an idea of how potent he can be if he's given the chance to shine on the offensive end. He has elite athleticism and is capable of making plays in the open field, and he can complete enough of the requisite throws to make him a mini dual threat when given the opportunity to throw.
Could Thompson be used in a way similar to how the Jets are trying to use Tim Tebow, where Washington would install a few plays a game where he can come in and disrupt defenses? It does seem enticing when you watch his reel, and Washington has entertained the thought of letting Thompson roam free on both sides.
Still, it'd be strange to see Sark try and put Shaq in this position. Why try and fix something that isn't broken? The Washington offense was functioning fine with Keith Price running the show last season, particularly as things wore on. It was the defense that finally wore out.
However, it might be tantalizing to see what Thompson could do on both sides of the football. Washington did struggle against the elite defenses in the conference, and perhaps going multiple with a dynamic athlete like Thompson could really shake things up and force teams to account for a dual threat. USC has proven they can struggle with dynamic offensive athletes.
Shaq could really upgrade Washington's defense next season, but perhaps what's more intriguing is whether he can do the same with their offense. Getting one could be the final piece to turning the Huskies into one of the great Pac-12 squads; getting both could allow the Huskies to dream bigger.