Gophers safety Cedric Thompson was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, after making two key interceptions in Saturday’s 39-38 victory over Purdue. Thompson returned Austin Appleby’s first pass to the 2-yard line, setting up a quick touchdown. And the second interception sealed the win.
Gophers freshman Ryan Santoso was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the week after hitting two field goals, including the 52-yard game-winner.
The honors came one week after the Big Ten named Gophers linebacker Damien Wilson co-defensive player of the week, and kick returner Jalen Myrick co-special teams player of the week.
Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys was thrilled with Thompson’s performance Saturday.
“It couldn’t happen to a better kid -- the time and effort he’s put in, not only to be a better player, but to be a leader since Brock [Vereen] left,” Claeys said. “You know, the counseling and visiting with kids, what he’s done, and to see that happen to him just makes you feel good.
“The old thing is that if you work hard, you’ll be rewarded. I definitely think that was part of his reward, I really do, for everything he’s put in and done for the kids. That’s what football’s all about.”
For those who haven’t read Thompson’s remarkable story, here it is.