Keenan Thompson was only 6 years old when he discovered something that changed his outlook on life a football trading card of his father stashed away in a box inside a closet.
A little boys intrigue led to questions, which eventually led to discovering his dads Pro Bowl jersey and Super Bowl trophy.
Reyna Thompson, a former ninth-round pick of the Dolphins in 1986 and Super Bowl winner with the Giants in 1990 as a defensive back and special teams standout, doesnt hide his greatest football achievements from his son anymore.
He shares them, and Keenan, a 17-year-old senior at West Broward High and Second Team All-Broward selection a year ago, said he uses them as fuel to chase his own dreams.
Theres actually a picture from the Super Bowl its really big that shows the kicker from the Bills [Scott Norwood] with his head down and my dads arms raised, Keenan Thompson said. I like that one the most. He was a champion.
Despite being one of the most dynamic players in Broward County, Thompson hasnt tasted victory very often with the Bobcats. Last season, West Broward finished 1-9 and was outscored 427-109. In 2010, the team went 3-6.
But Thompson (6-1, 200) has tasted the end zone and had the ball in his hands plenty. He scored 11 of his teams 12 offensive touchdowns last season. He ran for 381 yards and caught 42 passes for 609 yards and scored twice more once on a 73-yard interception return and again on a kickoff return.
My personal goal would be make it to a career of 30 TDs, Thompson said. Im at 17 right now. As a team goal, Id like to go above .500. I think we have the team to do it.
West Broward coach Chris Wagner said Thompson, who benches 295 pounds, squats 400 pounds and runs a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash, lines up everywhere on his team.
He has played receiver, running back, quarterback, punt returner, kick returner and, occasionally, wherever the team needs him on defense.
The thing is, everybody knows hes our guy. So we just have to be creative in finding ways to get him the ball, Wagner said.
Finding those ways is Reyna Thompsons job. Hes the offensive coordinator and the track coach at West Broward and gets to spend the fall and spring coaching his son.
Thats one of the lucky parts for me, he said. I started coaching high school football 12 years ago. I had 12 years of coaching other kids until my kids got old enough. Without trying to sound like a proud dad, hes the most coachable kid Ive ever had. He shows up, gives 100 percent effort and always looks for an opportunity to get better. Its a win-win situation for me.
Unlike his dad, Keenan plays mostly on offense. But Wagner believes if called upon in college, Keenan could make the switch to defense.
He definitely has the makeup to play on the defensive side of the ball, the mind-set, Wagner said.
Although he has received offers from Bryant College and South Alabama, the lack of a defined position is why Wagner thinks Thompson is still lacking big-time college offers.
But now that Thompson who runs track for his father in the 100, 200, 400 and relay teams has spent the summer being seen, Wagner thinks its only a matter of time before the offers start rolling in. He said Richmond, FAU, FIU and Illinois State have all shown interest.
The one thing everyone has been waiting to see is how fast he was. And this spring he ran a 4.5. He put himself in good position with that, Wagner said. At the end of the day, taking him as an athlete and finding a spot for him is going to be the best bet. Hes gifted all-around.
Thompson said his dream is to play for a BCS school in Texas, where a lot of his family is. His father played at Baylor.
My dad was a gunner, Thompson said. He played on the kickoff team and kick-return team. He used to go head-hunting for players like me.
Ultimately, Id just like to have a chance to play major-college football. I think Im a slot receiver because the matchup for me is better for me. The way Im used in the offense I get to slip in and out, and I get matchups in my favor, and I get the ball a lot. I feel like if you give me the ball in space, I can make things happen.