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Top 25 MAC Players of 2018: #8 Cody Thompson, WR, Toledo

Don’t let a leg injury distract you from the fact that Cody Thompson is one of the best deep threats in football.

Kent State v Toledo Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images

1,515 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Those were the statistics Cody Thompson was on pace for had a year-ending leg injury not interfered with the wideout’s monstrous 2017 season. The senior kicked off the season ushering in four-consecutive 100+ yard receiving games, including a stat line against Tulsa that looks straight out of NCAA 14 Dynasty Mode: nine catches, 178 yards, and a hat trick of touchdowns.

Thompson’s magnificent outing assisted in transforming Toledo’s three touchdown deficit into a 54-51 win over the Golden Hurricane. He followed up that performance by cruising past the Miami Hurricanes secondary en route to a 5-catch, 114-yard day in South Beach.

The conference slate commenced on the first weekend of October. While Toledo’s season was just getting into the groove, Thompson’s was over. After a 32-yard reception against Eastern Michigan, the wide receiver’s leg broke. Without their No. 1 receiver, the Rockets were still able to claim their first MAC title since 2004 and eclipse the 10-win total.

But with the graduation of Logan Woodside, Terry Swanson, and other offensive weapons, Toledo faithful were ecstatic when Thompson sent out this tweet in late December:

Thompson’s bizarre stats in the first four games of 2017 was no fluke. Just one year prior, he landed a First Team All-MAC selection for hauling in 64 balls for 1,269, and an outstanding 11 touchdowns. With 20 touchdowns since 2015, he’s proven time and time again that he’s a reliable end zone threat. Toledo’s new quarterback — Mitch Guadagni or Eli Peters — should be able to transition into the new role easier with Thompson’s reliable hands and an excellent supporting cast at wide receiver.

Thompson’s specialty is the deep ball. Averaging 20.0 yards per catch in his long Toledo career, the 6’2” receiver excels on downfield throws near the sidelines. His height and strength advantages when paired up with most corners allow him to be a force to be reckoned with on fades and jump balls.

On the program’s all-time receiving yards list, Thompson sits at sixth, but he shouldn’t stay there for long. He’ll likely pass former Rocket greats Bernard Reedy and Lance Moore on the list before conference play starts, and given his level of play in the past two years, Thompson should eventually reign atop the list. He’s just 781 yards away and five touchdowns receptions away from tying Toledo records.

The Rockets are on a quest to repeat as MAC champions, a feat which hasn’t been accomplished since the 2012 Northern Illinois Huskies defended their crown. Thompson’s return to the field should bolster the offense into of the best units in the conference. He resumes action for the first time in 11 months when Toledo opens against VMI on the evening of September 1.