Linebackers define Thompson’s experience
Joe Everett | Friday, November 9, 2018
Jimmy Thompson’s Notre Dame story started at a young age. The 6-foot, 217-pound senior linebacker from Hinsdale, Illinois, was set on the Irish from the moment he stepped into Notre Dame Stadium, and since then has never stopped pursuing the chance to run out onto that field.
“I was always a huge Notre Dame fan growing up. I’m from the Chicago suburbs, I had some family that were Notre Dame fans and alums, but my parents are actually Michigan State grads, so we grew up going to the Michigan State-Notre Dame games here, and being that stubborn kid I’d cheer for Notre Dame,” Thompson said. “So growing up I was a Notre Dame fan, realized as I grew up that it’s a great school and a really special place with obviously a really good football program … it was a no brainer to come here and pursue that. No other opportunity was going to compete with this in my mind.”
Now, in his last season as a football player, Thompson is a member of one of the top teams in the country, and relishes the opportunity to earn even more bragging rights over family members this year while enjoying a special season.
“Senior year’s been awesome, hopefully it continues that way,” Thompson said. “Beating Michigan was really cool. My brother’s a freshman at Michigan, and I have a lot of family that are also Michigan fans as well, so that was awesome. Being with all the guys is awesome, [especially] our senior class … it’s been fun to ride with those guys and meet some awesome people along the way.”
Many of those awesome people are in his position corps, Thompson said, and he explained how the linebackers inspire one another to be the best version of themselves each and every day.
“I think this is actually the biggest group we’ve had [at linebacker] — we added some more guys to the group this year,” he said. “It’s a really close group and a group I really trust … they hold themselves to a really high standard … they’re constantly re-setting that standard [of what it means to be a Notre Dame linebacker] and raise the bar every day.”
While the day-to-day grind might get to him once and while, Thompson said the entire experience of being a Notre Dame football player for four years has been a literal dream come true.
“People grow up and have their dreams and say, ‘I want to be an astronaut’ or ‘president,’ and I wanted to be a Notre Dame football player,” he said. “There’s that part of it — that kid in me — that loves that and really relishes being able to have fulfilled my dream.”
Intending to graduate from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business in December with a degree in management consulting, Thompson will also earn a minor in history. With plans to either enter the business world or make his way into the coaching arena, the senior linebacker knows that the lessons and experiences he has received from his four years on the team will only serve him well after he leaves Notre Dame.
“Going forward, I’ve met some really great people and been challenged in more ways than I would’ve ever imagined, which will benefit me the rest of my life,” Thompson said. “I’ll have guys that’ll be around me the rest of my life and experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything.”