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Canadian-born safety to help lead Saluki secondary

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Canadian-born safety to help lead Saluki secondary

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

Canada is a recruiting bed for hockey, not American football.

Saluki senior safety Anthony Thompson is one of two Canadian-born players in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. 

After playing high school and collegiate football in Canada, Thompson decided it was time for a change. 

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Thompson, a Montreal native, left Vanier College in 2011 after four years to play at UCLA. 

“UCLA finally just gave me a random call,” he said. “I was shocked when they called me.”

Thompson said the main difference American football had from what he was used to was the speed of the athletes. 

After redshirting for his freshman year, Thompson left when coach Rick Neuheisel departed. 

SIU coach Dale Lennon said he knew coaches in Canada, leading him to Thompson. 

“My staff back then had some connections up in Canada,” Lennon said. “There was some common ground we had…so it seemed like a very comfortable fit getting him here.” 

During a one-on-one meeting with defensive coordinator David Elson after last season, Thompson said he needed a complete change. 

Elson said Thompson spent the 2015 spring semester improving his focus, attitude and body. 

The change propelled Thompson into a leadership role among the secondary as players ask him and senior safety D.J. Cameron for advice. 

Thompson said he hopes his changes in the offseason allow him to play a key role in the defense this year. 

“There’s a bunch of packages with [Cameron] and I both out there on the field,” he said. “The coaches want us all out there at the same time and that’ll be a better chance to defend the offense.”

Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @SCarleyDE

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