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The Final Cockdown: #17 Dylan Thompson

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2012 preseason: "Oh crap our backup is Dylan Thompson, Shaw can't get injured." 2013 preseason: "Oh good our backup is Dylan Thompson, in case Shaw gets injured."

"Sorry Clemmy, Jesus made me do it!"
"Sorry Clemmy, Jesus made me do it!"
Streeter Lecka

Dylan "Angel Boi Swag" Thompson
Redshirt Junior Quarterback
6'3", 218 lbs.
Boiling Springs, S.C.

Recruitment:
2 stars, #52 Pro Style QB in the 2010 class
Other offers: I'm not sure who among them offered, but his official bio says he "also considered" East Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Furman.

College Career:
After redshirting in 2010, Dylan saw a sliver of playing time in 2011 (remember when he scrambled for a touchdown in the blowout of Kentucky?) Last season, Dylan sputtered out of the gates, going 0-3 and rushing for -4 yards in limited backup work against Vanderbilt. So frightened were we all when it was announced he'd be starting in place of an injured Connor Shaw against East Carolina, but Dylan ended up throwing for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns. After slinging a few more TDs against UAB, he went mostly dormant for the next few months, appearing in neither the LSU or Tennessee game and showing out poorly against Florida. But he'd yet to paint his masterpiece, which he did on November 24th, when Dylan led the team into Death Valley and threw for 310 yards and 3 touchdowns against a hapless Tigers secondary en route to a 24-14 win. His legend already minted, Dylan smashed a boulder-sized cherry on top of the 2012 sundae when he hooked up with Bruce Ellington for the game-winning touchdown against Michigan. Dylan wound up throwing for 1,027 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season.

Here's a 2012 DT highlight reel. (Warning: mute it.)

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/80KlBhDF7VQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

2013 Outlook:
Of course, Dylan's heroics have led to a vocal minority calling for Spurrier to bench Shaw, his third-year starter with a 17-3 career record, in favor of Thompson. Steve Spurrier maintains that the job is Shaw's to lose, but Thompson will get his chances as need dictates. Does this mean Connor's on a short leash, or that Spurrier will make situational changes like a baseball manager? I tend to believe the latter, and I also think that if Connor plays up to snuff and stays healthy, we'll see far less of Dylan some are anticipating. Regardless, it at least seems like Dylan's in line to take over the starting role in 2014, a luxury that would allow Connor Mitch and Brendan "Freak Nosty" Nosovitch another developmental year before one of them takes the reins. Prior to 2012, there was no clearcut successor to Connor Shaw, but Dylan's spotlight performances led him to assume the mantle of starter in waiting. For now...

Trivia:
Product of the same high school as Gamecock great Phil Petty.

Possible Todd Ellis play-by-play call:
"Dylan Thompson takes the snap, drops back, puts his arm to one and finds Shaq Roland on the fly route! Roland's three steps ahead of the nearest defender, and he'll stroll in for the score! Touchdown, Gamecocks! Folks, his name is Dylan, he has the Desire to win! He was a Slow Train Coming, but it turns out there was Blood on the Tracks—he'll show you Another Side on the field! A Freewheelin' side, if you will! He's here to prove that The Times They Are a-Changin'—it's a New Morning, folks, and he's ready to Bring It All Back Home!"