Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
King High linebacker Tyriq Thompson made a dominating impact Friday in his Detroit Public School League football debut and has been named the PSL’s Proud Strong Learner of the Week.
“As far as I’m concerned, he’s one of the best juniors in the state,” King coach Dale Harvel said of Thompson, who had a team-leading 12 tackles, two blocked passes and a fumble recovery in the Crusaders’ 6-0 double-overtime victory against East English Village.
“He still has another year of high school after this one, but he’s getting (college) offers from all over the place.”
The 6-1, 215-pounder quickly caught the Crusaders’ coaches’ attention although they were already familiar with his pedigree. Both of Thompson’s parents attended King High and his father, Clarence Thompson, was a star defensive back for the Crusaders and the University of Michigan in the ‘90s.
“After he came in, he became one of our team captains right away,” Harvel said. “He’s a very mature kid. He’s really ahead of where he should be. He’s slowly becoming the team leader of our defense. That’s because he displays what we want our kids to display both on and off the field.”
Thompson’s academic prowess is as impressive as his athletic skills. “He’s never gotten anything less than an ‘A’ in high school,” Harvel said. “His mom and dad have done a great job.”
Academics have always been the priority in his upbringing, Thompson said. “Ever since I was little, my mom and dad instilled in me to always put school first,” he said. “I’ve always had to get into my books and do my school work before sports or any extracurricular activities.”
With a 4.0 grade point average in a math, science and technology curriculum, Thompson plans to major in Education and wants to be a high school teacher. Of course, he would gladly delay his teaching career if the NFL gives him a shot to play on Sunday. “If that’s God’s will, that’s what I’ll be doing” he said.
After just his first PSL game, Thompson said it means a lot to him being named the Proud Strong Learner of the Week, not just because of what he was able to do on the field. “The award is called the Proud Strong Learner award, so Learner to me means that I’m getting it done in the classroom as well.”
Thompson still hasn’t decided where he’ll attend college, but has solid offers from Wisconsin and Illinois and is drawing interest from Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Northwestern, Vanderbilt and Western Michigan, among others. “The schools that are looking at him are very strong academically,’’ Harvel said.
As the defending PSL champs, Thompson said it was important King won last Friday against the team expected to be their stiffest East division challenger. But no opponent can be overlooked.
“King always has a target on its back no matter how many championships we win just because of the standard of our program,” he said. “Somebody’s always seeking to beat us.”
Thompson said the team’s goals are to play again for the PSL championship at Ford Field, finish the regular season unbeaten and “hopefully make a successful run in the playoffs to win the state championship.”
In the meantime, he’s working hard in the classroom and on the field and enjoying his part in adding to the King football legacy. “King is a great program with great coaches,’’ Thompson said. “My dad played here. It’s just a joy to be on the same field where a lot of great legends from the city of Detroit came through. It’s really an honor to play here.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week award is representative of the league’s top boys and girls athletes. The award is presented by the DPS Office of Athletics and sponsored for the fourth year in a row by Detroit-area McDonald’s owner-operators.