Kevin Thompson, Jr. found himself a long way from home this week. He comes from Baltimore and played defensive end at Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, Florida. Thompson, Jr. traveled to Fort Worth this past week to participate in the College Gridiron Showcase. Held annually in North Texas, the event offers draft-eligible former college football players like him a chance to impress scouts sent by professional teams to evaluate them. Through a series of interviews, practices, and a scrimmage, they try to do enough to get themselves drafted or signed as free agents this April. In the video interview that is the centerpiece of this post, Thompson, Jr. explains what he wanted to accomplish at the CGS and why.

In the interview, he references his struggles and his desire to succeed to help his mom. Thompson, Jr. faces long odds to make the NFL, as most college players do. But he’s beaten the odds to even make it this far. He grew up in a rough neighborhood and his three brothers all died violently. A serious injury cost him most of a season at Bethune-Cookman. He’s potentially a little undersized for a DE and didn’t play at a Power Five football factory, but he’s competitive and plays with sustained energy on every play. He hopes his showing at the CGS, who held their on-field activities at All Saints Episcopal School, will get an NFL or CFL franchise excited enough about him to offer chance to make the team. It would be a rewarding end to his long journey.