In a strange and sudden turn of events, Washington State all-conference safety Jalen Thompson has lost his final year of eligibility with the Cougars due to a violation of NCAA rules and will get a jump-start on his professional career, entering the upcoming NFL supplemental draft.
According to a source for The Spokesman-Review, Thompson’s violation of NCAA rules stems from the purchase of an over-the-counter supplement at a local nutrition store, although the source made a point to emphasize it was not a steroid.
WSU confirmed Thompson wouldn’t return to the Cougars this fall in a statement: “Washington State University safety Jalen Thompson will not return for his senior season after losing his final year of eligibility due to a violation of NCAA rules. Thompson has entered the NFL Supplemental Draft set for later next month.”
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport was the first to report Thompson had been stripped of his final season of eligibility and said the player learned of the news Friday.
“A key entrance into the supplemental draft: Washington State S Jalen Thompson, who learned yesterday he lost his eligibility for the 2019 season and applied to be drafted in July,” Rapoport tweeted. “He hired agent Brad Cicala and is heading into the NFL. Should be selected.”
The supplemental draft, held during the second week of July every year, gives NFL teams a chance to chose from a smaller pool of college players who left, or were dismissed, from their academic institution after April’s NFL draft.
Many thought Thompson, a former ESPN Freshman All-American who earned All-Pac-12 honors his sophomore and junior seasons, would’ve had an opportunity to turn pro after his junior season.
The Downey, California, native penned a letter to the WSU fanbase on Twitter Saturday afternoon.
“I want to take a moment to thank my friends, family, Washington State teammates, coaches, staff and most of all Cougar fans and inform them that I will not be returning to Washington State for this upcoming season,” he tweeted. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity the coaches provided me at Washington State and wish my teammates nothing but the best for this upcoming season. I will always be a cougar and so appreciative of the tremendous fan support we always enjoyed! It is now time for me to take the next step in my football life and I embrace and look forward to the challenges ahead of me. Thank you and Go Cougs forever!”
Thompson didn’t respond to a message from The Spokesman-Review seeking comment.
Thompson was expected to be one of the top safeties in the Pac-12 and the nation as a senior. In three years as the enforcer in WSU’s defensive backfield, he posted 191 tackles and six interceptions.