Sun Devil Tyrice Thompson: One-Year Anniversary of his Death
Mike Howell
By ,
January 27, 2014 10:22 AM


Tyrice Thompson with a thrilling TD reception in the Territorial Cup

Tyrice Thompson with a thrilling TD reception in the Territorial Cup

One year ago on January 27, 2013, Tyrice Thompson was stabbed multiple times while working as a bouncer at a Downtown Scottsdale night club. Five days later on February 2, he succumbed to the wounds and passed away.

Tyrice Thompson played football at Arizona State and was best friends with fellow Sun Devil teammate, Rudy Burgess. The two met in 2004 at their first team meeting with ASU’s newly signed recruiting class.

Burgess recalls, “When we first met, we didn’t really hit it off. You know, we were just kids sizing up the rest of the guys in the room, seeing who’s who and all that.” But soon, Rudy said Tyrice, who was born & raised in Phoenix, would show up to meetings with different air-brushed Sun Devil t-shirts and matching shoes. “I was like wow, I’ve never seen this stuff in California (Rudy is from outside of Lancaster). I thought he was pretty cool.” Soon the two would hang out.

Since playing together at Arizona State, Rudy and Tyrice’s friendship had evolved.

“Tyrice would come over to my place a lot, or I would go over there, and we would just have conversations about football and stuff,” Rudy said. Rudy still lives in the same place today as he did since his junior year at ASU where he became a stand-out athlete. He lives with his fiance, Brandi Lammon, who also became close to Tyrice and his family since attending ASU. Brandi said that Rudy was kind of a son to Tyrice’s parents, Richard & Nancy.

Since playing together at Arizona State, Rudy and Tyrice’s friendship had evolved. Both had a love for music. Tyrice was actually in the process of recording some music when the incident occurred.

“We were both really passionate about Bob Marley and what he stood for. He had peaceful music, happy music,” Rudy said. Anytime one of us was going through a hard time or something like that, we always played the Bob Marley song ‘Trenchtown Rock.’ That was definitely our favorite one.”

Tyrice Thompson with his sister, Torrie

For Rudy, he questioned the nature of the events that unfolded with the attack and ultimate passing of his best friend. Early Sunday morning January 27, 2013, Rudy said he woke up just before his alarm was set to go off. “It was odd. It was very early, around 5:00 am. I had set my alarm to get down to ASU for early team workouts.” Rudy is a part of ASU’s coaching staff. “I don’t know why I woke up.”

A couple minutes later, he got a phone call and saw that it was Richard Thompson, Tyrice’s Dad. Of course, he knew something was wrong. He answered the call, and Richard told Rudy about Tyrice being in the hospital.

Tyrice Thompson with his son, Takai

“I got off the phone and didn’t know if I was still dreaming. I walked into my living room and probably sat there in the dark for 3 or 4 minutes just trying to figure out what just happened. Then I pulled myself together and said this is real.”

The Thursday before Tyrice was attacked, Rudy brought him down to the football offices at Sun Devil Stadium. “I wanted to see if I could get Tyrice involved with ASU Football in some way.”

The following week after the incident while Tyrice was in the hospital, Rudy went down to his office at Sun Devil Stadium to clear his head. He sat with some of the players at lunch and told them what happened.

“They were like, that was your friend? We were just talking with him on Friday,” Rudy said. Tyrice had gone by the facilities again, the day after Rudy brought him. “He came into the locker room and was just talking to us. He was really inspirational and just sharing advice.” One of the players said, “He told us that no matter what, we should listen to our own ability and our coaches because these coaches are going to do what’s in our best interest.”

While he was still down in the football offices that day to clear his head, Rudy talked to ASU’s Head Coach. “I saw Coach Graham and he told me, ‘Don’t come back here until your friend’s ok. You need to be at the hospital.”

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