Chris Thompson's heartbreaking ACL tear in October at Miami put an end to his incredible comeback from two broken vertebrae suffered in his junior season against Wake Forest.
Collectively the two injuries have cost Thompson a full season (14 games since 2011) but getting another year of eligibility is looked at as a long shot given recent NCAA trends. Still, despite what initially appeared to be long odds Jimbo Fisher and staff have made no secret of their desire to get Chris Thompson an extra year of eligibility.
On Monday, Thompson got an encouraging sign as the NCAA granted an extra year to Cincinnati quarterback Brendon Kay.
Kay is a redshirt senior who missed 2008 (when he took the redshirt season) and 2011, but started for the Bearcats part of this season and will be eligible to lead them again next year as well.
This could potentially be the case that gives Thompson a chance at getting another year himself. Kay used his redshirt to avoid missing a year of eligibility as a true freshman and then missed most of 2011 with another injury. Coming into 2012 (when he started 9 games) he had played in just six games prior. Coming into 2012 Thompson had played in 28 games, but never used a redshirt.
There is a distinction to be made though, while Kay didn't play much in his first few years of eligiblity, that was not entirely due to injury.
Whereas Thompson played early, Kay was buried behind a couple of other QB's (Tony Pike and Zach Collaros) waiting for his turn to play. The fact Kay was already in his fifth year of eligibility, had two season ending injuries and was still able to get the extra year may make Thompson's case stronger (especially given the fact he has never taken a redshirt and would get just four years to Kay's six).
Essentially, if the NCAA holds the fact that Thompson played early against him, it could be detrimental to his case. But all things equal, Thompson played early because he had won the opportunity to, Kay did not.
While Florida State is still not likely to get Thompson the extra year given the recent precedents, this is definitely a promising sign for Seminoles fans hoping to see CT4 back next season.
Thompson lead Florida State in rushing this season with 687 yards on just 91 carries, even despite missing half the year with a blown ACL. He was easily the most dynamic player on the Florida State offense and looked more explosive than he had at any point in his career before going down for good against Miami in October.
While Thompson has expressed a desire to stay, whether or not the NCAA allows him to will be another story.
The Seminoles should make their formal appeal on Thompson's behalf in the coming weeks and you can be sure Brendon Kay's case will be referenced as they advocate for Thompson.
"What do we have to lose, anyway?" joked Jimbo Fisher on Friday.