MIAMI — Two short years ago, Darwin Thompson was a star in Miami … Oklahoma. He was a running back at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College.
But he was good. He earned National Junior College Athletic Association second-team All-America honors in 2017, a sophomore season in which he rushed for 1,391 yards and eight touchdowns on 185 carries. He ranked tops in the nation with 1,619 all-purpose yards.
That earned him a trip to Logan, Utah, where he joined the Utah State Aggies in 2018, and he remained good — second-team all-Mountain West Conference honors after 153 carries for 1,044 yards and 14 touchdowns, and 23 catches for 351 yards and two touchdowns. He ranked first in the MW (13th in the nation) in yards per carry (6.8).
That caught the eye of NFL teams, and the Kansas City Chiefs selected him in the sixth round of the 2019 draft (214th overall). In this his rookie season, Thompson appeared in 12 games, received 37 carries and ran for 128 yards and a touchdown. The score came in a 40-9 Week 13 win over Oakland, when he got a season-high 11 carries. He also partakes on the special teams.
One of the hardest workers on this team!
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 2, 2019
Now he’s in Miami … Florida. He and the Chiefs are taking on San Francisco in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday.
“Surreal,” Thompson told Sports Spectrum on Wednesday. “Just two years ago I was in junior college, last year I was at Utah State, and now they say I’m playing in the biggest game of my life. It’s surreal. God’s plan.”
God’s plan is something Thompson does his best to follow at all times. He says he puts the Lord before all else.
“My goal is to be identified as Darwin Thompson the follower of Christ before Darwin Thompson the football player, or just Darwin myself,” he says. “It’s just been God’s plan all my life. I really found God my freshman year of junior college when He sent me down and made me realize I can’t do nothing without Him. And He’s guided my steps this far, why doubt Him now?”
A 23-year-old from Tulsa, Okla., Thompson says there is a group of brothers on the Chiefs who are encouraging each other and walking this walk together. He says one of the leaders is quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the reigning NFL MVP.
“When the main guy, Pat Mahomes, is a huge follower in Christ, it’s easy to be a follower as well,” Thompson says.
But the path to the Super Bowl wasn’t easy for Thompson. When he was toiling away in Miami, Okla., starring in front of sparse junior college crowds, the Super Bowl seemed far away. But he turned to God then and felt the Lord’s comfort. He won’t forget the Lord now that he’s under the bright lights of the biggest game on the planet.
“Not only through the bad times do I turn to God but through the good times also,” he says. “I just try to remind people — you can’t be one step in, one step out with it. You got to be all the way for God.”
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