Claggett Wants To Make A Difference

Thomas Claggett will be entering his third year at the University of Cincinnati when summer practice begins in August, and he's hoping to make a difference at UC both on and off the field of play.

Thomas Claggett came to the University of Cincinnati as a 1st team all-state defensive lineman from Fredrick Douglass High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. He came with high school teammate Patrick Mimms, who was also a first team all-state selection on the defensive front. Both Claggett and Mimms even saw the field as true freshmen, very unusual at the defensive line position. Claggett appeared in all 11 Cincinnati games and recorded 18 tackles while Mimms saw action in only 2 games getting a couple tackles. Mimms bounced from the offensive to the defensive line and decided to leave Cincinnati transferring to Division IAA St. Francis of Pennsylvania where he recorded 31 tackles for the 3-8 Red Flash last season. Claggett saw his numbers decline in 2006 as he appeared in 9 games but recorded only 3 tackles, but unlike Mimms, Thomas seemed committed to remaining a Bearcat.

As the second week of spring football began last week, Thomas changed positions and moved to the offensive line. Thomas commented on the move. "I was third team on the defensive line coming into the spring, and they said I had the best chance of moving up by playing on the offensive line so they moved me this week." Many of the bigger players in high school will spend time at some point in their careers on the offensive line, but that's not the case with Thomas. "I've never played on the offensive line, this is my first time. I'm playing left guard now."

Moving from offensive line to defensive line isn't necessarily an easy transition as Thomas explained. "The stance is different and learning all the plays. There's much more learning and thinking."

Football is paying for Claggett's education, but Thomas is hoping to be more than just a football player at UC. "Yes, I'm running for student government. I'm trying to get athletes involved with the community on campus, and I'm leading the way myself." The 6' 2"/295 pounder won't be confused with Justin Timberlake although Claggett's campaign slogan might-"I'm not bringing sexy back, but I'm bringing athletes back." There is also a little bit of Muhammed Ali in the personable junior-to-be. "You can ask anyone on campus. I'll talk to anyone regardless of race, culture, gender, whatever. I am the friendliest football player-self proclaimed." Incidentally, Thomas doesn't even crack a smile as he recites the rapid fire quotes.

If his attitude on student policy is anything like his attitude about this position change, Thomas may well deserve the support of the Cincinnati student body. "I'm still getting adjusted to it, but I'll make the best out of it." The student elections take place April 16-18, and Thomas had to get one last plug in the event any students read the story. "Vote for me, Thomas Calggett, candidate at large." If only I were a student again.

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