If you want to be the G.O.A.T., you’ve got to learn from the G.O.A.T.s.
That’s exactly what Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux was doing Thursday when he took part in a Zoom session with some of the NFL’s star pass rushers. Thibodeaux was among college and pro players to take part in Von Miller’s fourth annual Pass Rush Summit.
The eight-time Pro Bowler gathers defenders each year so they can polish up their pass-rushing techniques on the practice field. This year, however, the 2020 summit was limited to Zoom.
According to the screen grab from Thibodeaux’s Instagram Story, the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman Player of the Year learned from Pro Ducks like DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead, as well as NFL greats like Von Miller, Shaquill Barrett, Myles Garrett, Chandler Jones, Calais Campbell, Nate Burleson, Bradley Chubb, and Cameron Jordan, who were all in attendance at the virtual get-together.
“I want to give a Huge Thank You! To everyone involved in today’s Pass Rush Summit. It was truly an honor,” Miller wrote on Twitter. “Hope you guys enjoyed it and were able to learn something because I sure did. Thank you guys!”
I want to give a Huge Thank You ! To everyone involved in today’s Pass Rush Summit. It was truly an honor . Hope you guys enjoyed it and were able to learn something because I sure did. Thank you guys !— Von Miller (@VonMiller) June 26, 2020
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Thibodeaux is primed for another big season in 2020. He appeared in all 14 games with five starts in his first year, notching 35 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, nine sacks, four quarterback hurries, three pass breakups and a forced fumble.
FOX College Football analyst Joe Klatt believes Thibodeaux’s ceiling is as high as they get. He named him as one of the top defenders in college football.
“It’s so rare that a guy comes in with that amount of acclaim and expectations and reaches that,” Klatt said. “Thibodeaux at Oregon did that. What I love most about his game is that his explosive ability in the backfield in terms of pass rush really started showing up late in the season. He didn’t have that freshman drop off where they get tired and it’s a long season. He got better and better and better. You could tell that he was a gym rat. He understood the nuances of rushing the passer. Started learning that better.
"His most dominant games were late in the season when they needed him most. Big reason why they won the Rose Bowl, beat Wisconsin and won the Pac-12 Championship over Utah. He was a force to be reckoned with.”
The 6-5, 250-pounder was particularly commanding toward the latter half of the Ducks season. In the final six games, Thibodeaux compiled 10.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks, including 2.5 sacks and a blocked punt in the Pac-12 Championship.
The expectations for Thibodeaux and Oregon are already at an all-time high. The Ducks captured a Pac-12 title and Rose Bowl victory in 2019. This season could be the year Thibodeaux becomes a household name in college football and solidifies his lofty projections for an NFL future.
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