June Jones is looking to get his run-and-shoot passing offense off the ground in year two working with quarterback Garrett Gilbert. After finishing No. 69 in passing in 2012, the SMU Mustangs will look to be an aerial power in 2013. If they hope to do that, Der’rikk Thompson will have to emerge as a legitimate deep threat for Gilbert and the Mustangs.
During his sophomore season in 2012, Thompson finished third on the team, catching 41 passes for 535 yards and four touchdowns. His 13.05 yards per catch average was the highest on the team and he will be asked to stretch the field even more in 2013. He’ll step up into a featured role next fall, replacing Darius Johnson, who led the team with 787 yards on 64 catches with five touchdowns in his senior season.
Thompson will have the benefit from playing opposite Jeremy Johnson next season in the starting offense after Johnson posted a team-high 67 catches for 679 yards and three touchdowns as he emerged as the go-to receiver in 2012. He’ll likely get leaned on even more in 2013 as he continues to build on his chemistry with Gilbert and become one of the more reliable pass catchers in the American Athletic Conference next season.
But for the SMU offense to truly take off next season, they need to have a receiver emerge who can take the top off the defense. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Thompson has the speed and athleticism to break off big plays and become a serious playmaker in the passing game. If the passing game can unlock its potential, Thompson has the opportunity to become one of the most explosive pass-catchers in college football.