The 90 Illini #46: Khmari Thompson
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I think I'm ready to rock now. We still have 4 users with site registration issues (we're working on them), and if others come up email me (email@example.com), but I think it's time to apply the 3-post paywall and start cranking through articles. I just made a list of outstanding posts I "owe", and it includes 46 Ninety Illini posts and four LLUOI posts plus about a dozen other topics. I've tried to hold back the dam until any and all registration and subscription pairing issues were solved, but I don't think I can anymore. We're live, and it's time to spam you with four posts per day for a while. Starting with...
46. Khmari Thompson
Uniform number: 4
Year in school: Sophomore (3 years to play 3)
Height: 6'-1" -- Weight: 210 lbs.
Hometown: Lawrenceville, Georgia
High School: Central Gwinnett HS
Former team: Transfer from Missouri
Five best offers: Missouri, Kansas State, Purdue, Tulane, Georgia Southern
Tom Cruise rating: 2 Cruises
2019 statistics: Missed Missouri's training camp with a knee injury and did not play during the season.
Let's clarify the "2019 statistics" up there above. I had a friend say to me "he missed 2019 with an injury" and I'm not sure that's exactly the case. You never really know when a player is cleared to return to practice, but the Missouri beat writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch framed it this way when Thompson transferred to Illinois:
Khmari Thompson missed last year's camp with a knee injury, then never got into the rotation. Also spent time with the Mizzou track team. He was a 3 star prospect in 2018 class.
So I don't think "missed last year with an injury" is correct. I think he had a knee injury in the summer, rehabbed, missed camp, returned to practice, and never cracked their rotation of 6-7 receivers (or however many they rotate). And if I can guess, seeing himself buried below the others during his second season is probably what led to him looking elsewhere.
This one is interesting with the eligibility waiver AND his transfer waiver. He received a waiver to play right away (no sit-out year), so he can play this fall. And all players received an eligibility waiver because of Covid, so this season doesn't count (kinda funny at this point, given that every conference is now playing, but "NCAA" means everything from FBS to Division III, and there are tons of D-II and D-III athletes who aren't playing, so the waiver applies to everyone). That means that Thompson is basically a freshman. I'll run through the math:
2018: He's a freshman at Missouri, he plays in only 3 games, and takes a redshirt.
2019: He redshirted the previous season so his "5 to play 4" turned into "4 to play 4". He didn't play, but it didn't matter - can't redshirt twice.
2020: Got the transfer waiver so he can play immediately at Illinois as a "3 to play 3" player. A sophomore.
2021: Oh hey look at that 2020 didn't count. He returns as a "3 to play 3" player again. A second sophomore year (third, really).
2022: Junior season
2023: Senior season
So he can play this year and then three more after that. I'm looking at him as our new freshman receiver.
Man, I have no idea. When I write the preview, I'm going to be so lost in the wide receiver section. There are THIRTEEN scholarship wide receivers on the roster, and the rotation won't be very deep because three tight ends (Daniel Barker, Luke Ford, and Daniel Imatorbhebhe) will get a ton of snaps with perhaps all three of them splitting out wide from time to time.
So I really don't think I can rank the receivers besides saying "Josh Imatorbhebhe and Donny Navarro will play a lot". Thompson could be #3 in the rotation or he could be 13th. And I'm not exaggerating there. I could create a scenario where he surprises and he starts and I could lay out a scenario where he's legitimately fifth-string at one of the three receiver spots. We can't watch training camp, so we're all going to tune into the Wisconsin game and say things like "the top six receivers are Bhebhe, Navarro, Washington, Sidney, Frenchie, and Carter? Innnnteresting."
Please note that I didn't mention Hightower there. Or Dan. Or Thompson. Or Cumby. I seriously have no clue what's going to happen.