Since last summer recruiting analysts have zeroed in on Los Angeles’ Dorsey High defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux as one of the best 2019 prospects in the country. A Rivals.com five star, Thibodeaux has offers from across the country, and now Stanford as well.
As of Tuesday evening Thibodeaux only had brief conversations with Stanford coaches and was told about the offer by his high school coach, former NFL safety Charles Mincy.
“It’s a blessing,” Thibodeaux said. “Knowing that Stanford does a lot of background checks, they check your grades, knowing that I was able to meet their standard of student athlete, it felt amazing.”
Thibodeaux’s physical traits are obvious. He is a 6-foot-5, 230 pass-rushing menace who causes havoc in offensive backfields. But a number that is often added in articles as if it’s a nice bonus to his football skills is that he holds a 4.0 GPA.
“School always comes first,” he said. “That’s what I was taught. If my grades weren’t up to par … my mom wouldn’t let me play. It has been instilled in me that good grades are what I have to do. You can’t go anywhere without being knowledgeable about things. I make sure that’s my first priority.”
Thibodeaux doesn’t watch much college football. And he has not given much of his attention to the recruiting process, yet. He describes his approach as being as focused as possible on his own development, and leave the positive accolades on the periphery.
“I notice it, but I try not to base anything on it,” he said of five-star ratings. “It can all be gone in a day. Even if what people think is a positive thing, even if it was negative it wouldn’t make me feel a different way.”
Given that mindset, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Thibodeaux already has a plan for his future after football, and he is aware of how Stanford could help him reach that goal.
“The first thing I do know about Stanford is their education is crazy,” he said. “Their law school is the best in the country. That’s a big part. In football they’re one of the best as well. I guess I want to know more about their football program.
“If I don’t make it to the league, or even after I make and it’s time for me to retire, I want to finish law school and become a lawyer.”
Thibodeaux hopes to visit Stanford this summer, but he hasn’t made any firm plans to visit schools. He seems to be holding off as long as possible from fully immersing himself in recruiting, if he ever will.
“When you dive into it things start to go for the worst,” he said. “It turns into more than it needs to be. I’m just really trying to play football.”
Thibodeaux is confident he has “a lot of people in my corner” who he can lean on as he navigates choosing his future school. In the meantime, he is focused on preparing for his junior season, one that promises to be a very tough test.
His assessment of his Dorsey team and the challenge waiting for him and his teammates:
“We don’t have the best players. We don’t have the best anything, the best facilities, but everybody wants to be there and everybody will fight for the person next to them. It doesn’t scare me. Not one a bit. Playing Bosco, yeah there are going to be some tough games, but they lace their shoes just like we do.”