Going into his junior year at Washington State University, Jalen Thompson has a wealth of experience playing safety for the Cougars football team. He is one of the highest performing safeties in the Pac-12 and in college football.
In July, Thompson was named on the Bednarik Award watch list.
“I feel like I’m the best one, not even trying to be cocky, but that’s just having confidence in myself,” he said. “I feel like I work the hardest.”
Thompson is currently majoring in human development with a minor in sports management. Human development was his favorite class at WSU.
“I just found that class really interesting,” he said. “I took it my freshmen year and I got really into it.”
Managing all of his obligations can be a challenge, but Thompson takes the workload in stride.
“It’s hard, it’s the life of a student athlete though,” he said. “You got to get it done. After practice, go to study hall and get the homework done.”
As a sophomore, Thompson tied at first place in the Pac-12 for three fumble recoveries. His four interceptions would be the third most in the conference. Thompson also led the Cougars with 73 tackles.
“It’s been exciting,” he said. “It was tough at first adjusting, but when I got up there, I got in the film room, got with the coaches and ended up playing my freshmen year.”
The Downey native began college in Spring 2016, he ultimately started in all 13 games that season. His achievements include 51 tackles and seven pass breakups. Prior to enrolling at WSU, Thompson attended Downey high school where he played football and ran track. He noted how his high school coach Jack Williams and WSU head coach Mike Leach have similarities.
“They don’t take no crap from anyone, they want us to be on our stuff, do our jobs and be the best we can be,” Thompson said.
At Downey, Thompson earned All-CIF honors after registering 57 tackles as a junior. In his senior year, he earned All-CIF Southern Section honors.
“That’s where I really started playing [defensive back] was at Downey,” Thompson said. “My head coach Jack Williams helped me with my technique, he helped me with everything and I feel like he got me ready for the college level”
Thompson started playing football at seven years old and competed with the Bellflower Broncos and the Carson Colts youth football programs.
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