FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — On the eve of Kayvon Thibodeaux’s preseason debut against the Patriots, a last-second 23-21 Giants win, the men who coached him, at Oaks Christian (Calif.) High School and last season at Oregon, believe the teams that may have passed on him for reasons ranging from work ethic to love of the game — Jaguars, Lions, Texans and Jets — will live to regret it.
“In my opinion, absolutely,” Tim DeRuyter, defensive coordinator at Oregon last year and now at Texas Tech, told The Post. “But everyone’s gotta pick for their own reasons and what’s gonna be best for their club, so I get it, and I think the rational side of Kayvon gets it, but the emotional side of him pisses him off, he wants to make sure that those teams that passed on him remember they had a chance at him.”
“Absolutely,” Charles Collins, Thibodeaux’s high school coach, told The Post. “I had to remind people that he was not a [Jadeveon] Clowney situation at all and football was important to him, where I thought football wasn’t as important to the Clowney kid as it was to KT. I think if they’d dug a little deeper, they’d have realized he was a gym rat. He’s a stickler about his technique, he’s a stickler about doing things the right way and perfecting all the various fundamentals and whatnot to get to the quarterback.”
Who does he remind you of?
“The kid from Cleveland [Myles Garrett],” Collins said. “I think he has that kind of force, similar to the guy [Micah] Parsons from Dallas, I think he can have that kind of force and that kinda impact as well in terms of getting to the passer.”
DeRuyter was assistant head coach at Texas A&M when Von Miller played there in 2010.
“They’re both elite pass rushers, but they’ve got different styles,” DeRuyter said. “KT has elite get-off, but he’s more of a speed to power guy. Von was a guy against the run who would run around blocks, was just very slippery to make plays, where Kayvon is really heavy-handed and can knock tackles backwards and two-gap guys to make plays.”
No. 5 was thrilled that his NFL journey had begun. “I’m a fan of Madden, ’cause that’s most of what I’ve seen, but I’m like, ‘Man, we’re really in the NFL now,’ ” Thibodeaux said Thursday.
One tackle, no sacks against Patriots right tackle Justin Herron, no matter in the opening two series.
“I thought I was gonna be a little more nervous or a little more uptight,” Thibodeaux said, “but it was really natural, and it was good … this was definitely just a warm-up.”
One false start drawn.
“I would take it as I’m winning in the mental game,” Thibodeaux said. “I know that people are gonna have me marked. That kind of eased my nerves, that let me know we’re all still human.”
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Collins likes that Thibodeaux landed with the Giants.
“I think it really suited his personality,” Collins said. “If you look at KT, he likes the bright lights and all those things.”
DeRuyter: “I think it’s perfect for him as long as he stays true to who he is, which he’s always been that way around me,” he said. “I think a place like New York or LA can get guys away from who they are if they’re not strong-enough willed. Obviously there’s gonna be a big light shining on him. I think that’s what he lives for.”
Thibodeaux displayed his route burst but acknowledges that he has a ways to go. “I gotta touch the quarterback. If I don’t touch the quarterback, I feel like I didn’t do my best job,” he said.
Beware No. 5. “It’s all gas, no brakes,” Collins said. “But also he’s got the personality where he’s holding his brothers accountable. His energy, it’s infectious really when you think about it, because it’s kinda like iron sharpening iron.”
DeRuyter: “To me he wanted to be the best guy on the field. He wanted to be in those moments, and he almost always rose to the occasion at the end of games in those moments where you gotta have someone make a play — he wanted to be the guy to make those plays.”
Thibodeaux graded himself an NA. No Answer. “I play this game like a boxer,” he said.
He lives for the championship rounds.
“He’s got a very different personality than most defensive linemen ’cause he’s highly intelligent, and he’s got no problem expressing his view,” DeRuyter said.
DeRuyter: “He’s one of those guys that offenses are gonna have to game plan for, because if they don’t, he can take over a game.”
Collins: “You’re getting a guy that’s a game-changer.”
Gerrit Cole didn’t get much help from his offense or defense Sunday, but he didn’t spare himself from the blame for the Yankees’ 4-2 loss to the Rays. After giving up three runs, two earned, over 6 ¹/₃ innings at Yankee Stadium, Cole was left ruing not