Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux did an interview with FOX Sports’ Joel Klatt during the 2022 College Football Playoff national championship game Monday. Thibodeaux discussed attending Oregon over Alabama, and he had some things to say about the supposed quality of education at both institutions and why he chose the Ducks.
“I already hate the stigmatism of football players being dumb jocks,” Thibodeaux said. “So now, do you know the stigmatism of Alabama education? It ain’t the West Coast. It ain’t Harvard.”
Later in the interview, Thibodeaux continued to talk about an Alabama education.
“If I would have went to Alabama … I don’t know if my degree would mean anything,” Thibodeaux said.
ESPN college football analyst and former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy took offense to Thibodeaux’s statements. He discussed it for quite a while on his radio show with Cole Cubelic — “McElroy and Cubelic In the Morning.”
“I just take real personal offense, man,” McElroy said Thursday. “I genuinely do. I don’t care. Don’t come. If you think so little of us, don’t come. Fine by me, because I know the people that live in this state. I chose Alabama, because I love Alabama. … If you don’t want to see Alabama for the greatness it can potentially provide you, it’s on you. You’re missing out.”
Cubelic and McElroy both chastised Thibodeaux for saying “stigmatism” when he meant “stigma.”
“He says he doesn’t like the stigma that athletes are dumb jocks, and yet, he sounds like a dumb jock,” McElroy said.
McElroy played quarterback at Alabama from 2007-10. The New York Jets took him in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
“What I don’t understand is why he felt the need to cut down Alabama,” McElroy said. “And as someone who has always taken his academic situation very seriously, I’ll just come at him with this — if he’d like to take an IQ test, I’m available. If he’d like to take the Wonderlic test, I’m available. As a proud graduate with multiple degrees from Alabama, I will put my degree up against his any day of the week.”
McElroy was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship in 2010. The Rhodes Scholarship is a postgraduate award for 102 students to attend the University of Oxford in Oxford, England.
“I’d like to show him the offers, because I would be willing to bet that Harvard didn’t offer him,” McElroy said. “I think they probably would have taken him, but Harvard did offer me — as did Yale, as did Princeton, as did almost every Ivy League school along with Duke, Stanford, Northwestern and Vanderbilt. And I chose Alabama, so put ‘er there Kayvon Thibodeaux.”
Thibodeaux had 49 total tackles, 35 solo tackles, and seven sacks for Oregon during the 2021 season. He’s projected by many to be on of the first picks – if not the first overall pick – in the 2022 NFL draft.
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“Meet me at the Wonderlic (test),” McElroy said later in the show. “Meet me there, Kayvon. Come get some. Match my 48 — or 43, whichever one it was.”
The Wonderlic test is an IQ test that used to be given at the NFL Combine for NFL Draft prospects. A perfect score for a Wonderlic test is 50 points.
During Monday’s interview with FOX, Thibodeaux also talked about how Oregon’s connection to Nike led him Eugene over Tuscaloosa.
“You know what I sat back and thought about? I sat back and said ‘what world do I want to be a part of?’ I said if I go to Alabama, I’m going to win national championships, literally,” Thibodeaux said. “But do I want to be a guy who’s known as a national championship winner or do I want to be a guy who’s known for being a part of the greatest organization in the world? … A brand like Nike, for me what brand associations do I want to be tied to.”
The 2022 NFL Draft is scheduled to take place April 28-30.
Erik Hall is the lead digital producer for sports with the USA Today Network. You can find him on Twitter @HallErik.