His team clinging to a 44-41 lead with 2:02 remaining in the fourth quarter, Virginia football head coach Bronco Mendenhall turned to Keytaon Thompson on 4th and 3 from the Cavalier 42. On the fake punt, the junior took the direct snap and gained five yards for a game-clinching first down.
Thompson, a graduate transfer out of Mississippi State, transferred to UVA this past summer in hopes of replacing Bryce Perkins as the Cavaliers’ starting quarterback. An injured throwing shoulder in the preseason derailed those hopes. Healthy enough to play, he moved to wide receiver.
Thompson primarily played wide receiver in UVA’s first three games of 2020, mostly handling blocking duties although he did have a touchdown catch against Clemson. Over the course of the last three games he started to take on more responsibilities including quarterback (primarily as a runner) and tailback. Thompson has continued to play wide receiver as well.
Per Pro Football Focus, Thompson played 20 offensive snaps against Wake Forest, 22 against Miami and 39 in the win over UNC. He opened the season with 20 offensive snaps against Duke but played only nine snaps and 17 snaps, respectively, in losses to Clemson and NC State.
“He’s becoming one of the cultural stories or cultural examples that we can present when a player comes into our program,” Mendenhall said of Thompson. “Bill Belichick has a saying, ‘The more you can do the more you can do.’ I added my own sentence to that, ‘The more that you can do, the more valuable you are.’ Keytaon, he does everything. At one point I heard a former player of mine, Taysom Hill, who plays for the Saints and he plays multiple positions, and I think there was a commercial. Someone was asking him what position he plays and he said, ‘Football.’ And so that’s what we’re...
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