McLeod Bethel-Thompson: A warm body at quarterback or solid back-up?

This post was written by Jared A Quan

We knew early on that the 49ers had been touting Alex Smith as their quarterback for the 2011 season. Also we knew that Colin Kaepernick would be right there with Alex. Now the 49ers have released David Carr as some had suspected. So naturally the 49ers would pursue a third quarterback. Regardless of the high profile quarterbacks that have already been taken, there are a few in the background that could be scooped up to compete with Alex for the top spot.

Jim Harbaugh and crew may have been sending Alex Smith yet another message when they decided to look outside the league and pick up arena football quarterback McLoed Bethel-Thompson. The question is what kind of message are they sending. Is Bethel-Thompson a warm body to fill the position or a solid back-up?

McLeod played high school football at Balboa High School in San Francisco. His senior year he passed for 2,100 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. He would go on to UCLA where after redshirting his freshman year, he would play in five different games, due to injuries to the first and second string quarterbacks. His best game would be in the Las Vegas Bowl vs. BYU in 2007, where he would pass for 154 yards and a touchdown. He would transfer to Sacramento State, where his best game would be against Southern Oregon, where he threw for 255 yards, one touchdown and run in one touchdown. Injuries would plague his remaining collage career.

Most recently McLeod Bethel-Thompson was playing backup quarterback for the San Jose SaberCats Arena Football team. This last season he completed less than fifty percent of his passes. During this time he managed to fit time in to intern with a California assembly member from Los Angeles.

He was always advertised as having a strong arm, really smart, being mentally tough, and a fairly quick arm. Despite the advertisements it is hard to imagine McLeod as anything more than a 6’3, 230 lb warm body on the bench. However I will not dismiss the fact that Harbaugh, the quarterback guru, has put stock into him. Ironically this would not be the first time, as Harbaugh sought him out from Sacramento State.


Next 49ers Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 77 Sep3:25at Dallas CowboysBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: San Francisco 49ers

  • Sniper49er

    I watched this kid in college. If wasn’t plaged with injuries his junior and senior year, he would have been playing for the NFL. I would list him as a solid backup for the 49ers.

  • NinerNoise

    I think Bethel-Thompson has a chance to be a solid backup. He will get the reps at quarterback in the beginning of training camp and with Harbaugh coaching him along he could develop nicely. He will not have any pressure to start so I expect some nice plays from him in the preseason games. @Sniper49er

  • jaredquan

    I’ve only watched highlights posted on youtube, but I’m going to be honest. I don’t know that he will be a great stand in. Both collage and the arena league are different speeds. I will have to see more of him before I firmly decide.

  • snowhookup

    Bethel-Thompson was horrible at UCLA! He threw 4 INTs in a game against a weak Notre Dame team that was 3-9! Bethel-Thompson was not even a scholarship player at UCLA. He walked-on and played in only 3 games. He threw a total of 5 INTs in those games and one TD. Don’t get your hopes up. He is not going to replace Alex Smith. As much as 49er fans are tired of Alex, he’s much better than Bethel Thompson. Pray that Alex doesn’t get injured! If Bethel hits the field, the Niners will guaranteedly LOSE!