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Former Tech star Fred Thompson dies

The reports are flying left and right and it’s shocked me tonight to learn that former Oakland Tech High football star Fred Thompson has died. Oregon State officials confirmed in a release that Thompson died early Wednesday evening. Bay Area News Group colleague Phil Jensen also confirmed Thompson’s passing with Oakland Tech coach Delton Edwards, who was understandably shaken. Thompson had been playing basketball at a recreation center on campus when he collapsed. He was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

On a personal level, this is pretty tough to hear. Thompson was a standout for Tech. In his senior year in 2009, he collected 90 tackles and seven sacks and even had an interception returned for a touchdown. The first time I ever interviewed Thompson was after the game in which he had the pick six. As good of a player as he was, he was an even better kid with a great personality. I would routinely see him whenever I was at a basketball game at Tech and he was always there as the biggest and loudest cheerleader.

When he signed his letter of intent to Oregon State in Feb. 2010, I remember talking to him. I relayed some of the feedback about him we had received during the process of selecting that year’s Cream of the Crop. (He was No. 2 behind current Stanford quarterback Brett Nottingham of Monte Vista). One quote was something to the effect of, “If there’s a player from this group that can play on Sundays, it’s him.” His eyes lit up at that. He had the talent and had the fire to make that happen. It’s very sad to see that pursuit come to an end. I got a chance to see and speak briefly to Fred in the tunnel of AT&T Park about a month ago when Oregon State was playing Cal. He wasn’t on the active roster this year, but was at the game and I stopped and talked to him briefly. It’s shocking now to know he’s gone. My prayers go out to his family, friends and the Oakland Tech and Oregon State communities.

Jimmy Durkin

I cover mostly San Jose State football for the San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News Group, but also fill in from time to time with the 49ers, Warriors, A's and Giants.

  • Prep Fan

    That is very sad to hear. Rest In Peace Fred.

  • S1lverngreen

    What a tragedy! My heart goes out his family! I can only imagine.

  • OSU Dad

    Fred was a tremendous teammate. His brothers loved him. This is a very close freshman class and his loss will be felt for the rest of his brothers lives. God Bless Fred’s family. Fred, God bless you and rest in peace with the Lord.

  • Ben Enos

    I join Jimmy in adding that my thoughts and prayers are with Fred’s family and football families in Corvallis and Oakland. I remember getting that quote and thinking yeah, I could see that because I’d seen him rip through a team earlier in the year. Thought he was a man among boys that day. I also remember talking to Fred before our annual banquet at the Concord Hilton and being impressed with him as a young man. I’ll always remember him as part of that talented trio to come out of Tech that year (Ryan Murphy and DiAndre Campbell as well) and it’s very, very sad to hear this news.

  • Coach Guy

    In 2009, Fred was the best football player we played against at Pinole Valley, he dominated us on both sides of the ball. Im very sad to see this young man who had endless potential go so early. My thoughts and prayers go out to his famuly, friends, teammates, and coaches.

  • ManDown

    My prayers are with the family. This is very sad news to hear of a young life gone so soon. Fred was a beast but now he is in a better place with God.

  • Old Former Meddling Coach

    A Nice Young Man who had a great future ahead of him. My Prayers go out to Him, His Family and Friends.

  • pirate football

    this is so shocking, he was a very good young man, very respectful. spoke with him and he was so happy to be going to college, very hungry, its very sad. really good young man. im in total shock WOW. will b praying for his family

  • Oh boy

    This is very sad to see such a bright light go out before he really had a chance to shine. Fred Thompson really was a damn good player and a good kid too. Prayers and condolences to his family and the Bulldog community who must be hurting right now. RIP Fred.

  • http://www.ibabuzz.com/prepcorner/2011/10/10/east-bay-football-poll-1010/#comment-58178 bbfan2

    Sadly, this was the news I woke up to on television this morning. Although I didn’t know him, I still considered him a “bay” kid as I like to refer to all the athletes from this area regardless of what school they attend and play for. My prayers go out to his family, who should always be proud knowing that he worked hard to pursue his dreams. Rest in Peace.

  • suckafree415

    Rest in Peace…….always heard nothing but great things about him on and off the field……..his family will be in my prayers, what a tragedy

  • http://aol BigDog

    Terrible news- God Bless him and his family.
    On the next level it’s shocking to see how much weight some of these programs want a kid to put on. Not saying that happened to him.
    These kids are told get on the training table and eat, eat and eat. By the time they are 5th year seniors some of these lineman are weighing 325 plus pounds, without height. Just too much weight too carry.
    Programs not looking at the total medical problems they are causing these kids along with weight issues after college.