Kayvon Thibodeaux is the Most Dominant Player in the Nation

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Stephen Hatala

Every year there’s a defensive player that outright dominates the competition in every phase of the game and garners an unbelievable amount of traction. In recent years we’ve seen Myles Garrett, Chase Young, and Brian Burns fit the mold. This years’ dominant force is Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux.

Thibodeaux is the literal definition of dominance. He possesses a rare combination of size, power and overall athleticism. Standing at 6’5 258 lbs, Thibodeaux is often outweighed by opponents offensive linemen, however there’s no dropoff in strength and power. He consistently pushes OL back into the backfield.

Thibodeaux has the ability to line up either inside or outside and have success. To add to that, he packs a major punch when he fires off the ball.

He has so many different methods to win. Most of the time, he’s too swift for bigger offensive tackles and guards, while being too strong for tight ends and running backs. 

Thibodeaux is an absolutely elite pass rusher. Through only 25 games at Oregon, he’s accumulated 16 sacks and a sensational 31 tackles for loss. Ridiculous. He’s excellent with his hands. Elite.  Oftentimes, big strong defensive ends will rely solely on using their power and will soon find out they aren’t always as strong as offensive linemen. Fortunately, this is not the case for Thibodeaux. He’s a swiss army knife when it comes to pass-rushing moves. He has all variations of the swim move, rip move, spin, and stab. Despite his versatility as a pass rusher, he’s most elite when he’s bull-rushing or using a quick rip move with a slight shoulder dip to get under the offensive lineman.

Offensive linemen never know what to expect when matched up in front of him. He warrants a double team almost every single play and even then its not enough. 

Although Thibodeaux is primarily a defensive end, he’s shown capabilities of playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, and/or defensive end in a 4-3 defense. Even at his size, he’s often dropped back into coverage into the curl to flats zone or picked up a running back in coverage and appeared to be fluid while doing so. Literally nothing he can’t do. 

With that being said, his most impressive trait is his abilities to play big in big games. He excelled in the Ducks game against UCLA, which was that he's play in this year.Oregon’s biggest game thus far, a game in which Thibodeaux absolutely dominated. He finished the game with nine tackles(eight solo), two sacks and a forced fumble. Honestly, the stat sheet undersells him- he made a living in the Bruins’ backfield. He lined up inside, outside, on the left and on the right; and there was zero answer for him. Along with that, during his freshman year, he registered five tackles and 2.5 sacks against Utah, when the Utes were ranked #5 in the nation. Thibodeaux consistently rises up to the occasion in big games and leaves it all on the field.

Kayvon Thibodeaux has been sensational his whole college career and it looks like he’ll continue to be on the back half of the 2021 season. Thibodeaux consistently gives offensive lines and quarterbacks headaches. He’s easily the most dominant player in the nation, and has a chance to go really high in the 2022 NFL draft. Thibodeaux and the Ducks are in action this Saturday November 6 at 7:30 PM vs the Washington Huskies.

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