|28 Matt Thompson|
A savvy and battle-tested veteran who will be counted on to provide leadership to a linebacking unit which lost all three of its senior starters from 2009 ... Spent late fall and winter rehabilitating from an elbow injury that prematurely ended sophomore season ... A quick and punishing tackler who made successful move from the secondary to linebacker after the 2008 season ... Will open junior campaign projected as a reserve strongside linebacker, but coaches feel contention for starting position is a possibility as season progresses ... Could also gain additional playing time as a member of the special teams squad for the second-straight year ... Tied for the unit lead with eight tackles, including two for lost yardage (one sack), in the first spring scrimmage (April 3) ... Booked three more tackles and another sack for a four-yard loss in the second tilt (April 10) ... Was asked to address an off-the-field issue by head coach Ruffin McNeill prior to the Purple-Gold Game (April 17) and did not play in the contest.
2009: Appeared in the first seven games, before suffering a season-ending elbow injury against Rice Oct. 17 ... Made a pair of starts (SMU and Rice) at outside linebacker in place of an injured Chris Mattocks ... Finished with 20 tackles, including four on special teams (two on punt returns) ... Booked eight solo stops and 12 assists ... Credited with at least one stop in six of seven outings (North Carolina) ... Picked up one tackle for a lost yardage in each of the first two games of the season (Appalachian State and West Virginia) ... Totaled 13 tackles in his final three games, an average of just over four per contest ... Netted a career-high five tackles at Marshall and vs. Rice ... Produced the first quarterback hurry of career in final contest of season against the Owls ... Helped hold SMU (28) and Rice (78) to under 100 yards rushing.
2008: Utilized primarily as a special teams performer during redshirt freshman campaign ... Experienced playing time in nine overall games ... Collected a total of five tackles, four coming as a member of special teams ... Booked stop in collegiate debut against Virginia Tech before adding another single tally vs. UAB ... Logged a season-best three (one solo) tackles vs. UTEP, a contest which included the most significant play at the linebacker position ... Played in both post-season matchups (vs. Tulsa in Conference USA Championship game and Kentucky in AutoZone Liberty Bowl) but did not record statistics.
2007: Redshirted during initial season in ECU program ... Officially signed with the Pirates in February, 2007.
High School: A two-year starter and four-year letterman at Eastern Alamance High School ... Chosen to the all-conference, all-area and all-region squads as a junior and senior ... Recorded 53 stops as a sophomore and 67 as a junior in 2005 before following with 82 tackles, 50 of those coming as first hits, in 2006 ... Also forced four fumbles, recovered five and netted a pair of interceptions during junior campaign ... Key part of an Eagles' turnaround that included 9-4 and 11-4 records in 2005 and 2006 after an 0-11 mark in 2004 ... Helped EAHS to a playoff appearance as a senior ... Participated in the 2006 Shrine Bowl Game ... Prep coach was John Kirby ... Identified by Rivals.com as one of its Top 5 performers to attend the Durham Combine during the spring of 2006 ... Earned an additional four letters as an all-conference track standout, competing primarily in the 200-meter and 4x100 relay team events ... Included on school's "B Honor Roll" during senior year.
Personal: Full name is Matthew JaRon Thompson ... Born December 9, 1988 at Burlington, N.C. ... Major is communications ... Hobbies include fishing, cooking and art ... Grandfather played professional football with the Toronto Rifles in the mid-1960s (Continental Football League).