Utah State running back Darwin Thompson goes to the Kansas City Chiefs late in the sixth round of the NFL draft
Utah State running back Darwin Thompson (5) carries the ball for a 65-yard touchdown as Tennessee Tech defensive back A.J. Flemister (11) defends during an NCAA college football game, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/Herald Journal via AP)
Utah State running back Darwin Thompson turned his only season of Division I football into an NFL opportunity.
The Kansas City Chiefs took the 5-foot-8, 198-pound Thompson with the last pick of the sixth round in Saturday’s draft. USU tight end Dax Raymond
, who also entered the draft with one year of eligibility remaining, was not selected.
After the draft, USU announced the free-agent signings of Raymond and receiver Ron’quavion Tarver, both with Chicago, safety Gaje Ferguson with Kansas City and safeties Aaron Wade and Jontrell Roquemore, both with Cleveland. Southern Utah offensive lineman Marquez Tucker reportedly signed with Chicago.
Two former Utah high school players from out-of-state colleges were picked in the seventh round. Hawaii receiver John Ursua, from Cedar City, went to Seattle. Idaho linebacker Kaden Elliss, from Judge Memorial, went to New Orleans.
Playing for the Aggies as a junior college transfer in 2018, Thompson posted 1,044 yards and 14 touchdowns
on 153 carries, a 6.8-yard average. He was productive in former USU offensive coordinator David Yost’s scheme, while sharing the job with Gerold Bright in a one-back set.
Coming from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Thompson was ranked by NFL.com
last summer among college football’s “most freakish athletes.” That judgment was based on his weightlifting and vertical jumping ability. As he recently told Bleacher Report, “I’m not tall, so I have to make up for the height somewhere. That’s in the weight room.”
Ursua also left school after his junior season, having caught 53 passes for 652 yards. In his three-year Hawaii career, he had 89 receptions for 1,343 yards and 16 touchdowns. The 5-foot-9 Ursua is known for his ability catch the ball in traffic.
Elliss' father, Luther, was a first-round pick out of Utah and enjoyed a long NFL career. Kaden Elliss played quarterback and linebacker at Judge and performed well as a senior at Idaho as the Vandals moved into the Big Sky Conference. He posted seven sacks and 16 tackles for loss. Elliss made good showings in Pro Days at both Utah and Idaho.
Five Utah prep products were drafted, including former Ute players Matt Gay of Orem and brothers Cody and Jackson Barton of Brighton.