De'Anthony Thomas - Running back
Thomas is a third year junior. While he has started many games, he plays in a rotation. He is a former 5-star recruit who was offered by many of the top programs in the country. He is not a very big guy. He stands about 5'9 - 173, but he is very fast (4.38 est) with great cutting ability, body control, and run instincts. He lines up as a running back, a slot receiver, and used to return kicks.
As a RB, he has excellent initial quickness but is also patient. He does a very good job setting up blocks and cutting off those blocks. He has very good vision and can make the quick cut in the hole. He has a great burst and top end speed to turn the corner on outside plays, and once in the open field, it often becomes a foot race that he easily wins. As an inside runner, he can make the quick cut to daylight and produce a big run, but he is not a good after-contact runner. While he runs hard and is strong, he lacks the bulk and power to break tackles inside. As a receiver, he has good hands, can get open, and again, once the ball is in his hands, he becomes a nightmare for the defense. He is extremely dangerous as a return man. His open field run skills are rare.
Thomas will never be a full-time player at the next level. He will be used as a rotational RB and used some as a slot receiver. When you add his ability to return kicks, he can probably touch the ball 15 - 18 times a game and have a direct influence on the outcome of the game. When we see players like Tavon Austin go in the first round, it's easy to see that Thomas will get drafted that high. Whenever he is on the field, he has to be accounted for. He is a difference maker with the ball in his hands. The problem he will have is durability. With his lack of size, he may be prone to injury. He has already missed three games and most of a fourth this year. Still, a team will gamble on his big play ability.
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