In 13 games last season, Thomas logged 777 snaps, the majority of which were at left guard. He started at left tackle against N.C. State and played several snaps there against South Carolina.
Thomas is now entrenched as the starting left tackle.
"I just wanted to show that I can actually do it. A lot of people last
year said they would prefer me at guard…I just wanted to show I could
actually do it," he said. "With Phil [Price], he's gone now. I just want
to show that I can actually do it."
The redshirt junior from Dorman High School feels more comfortable now
than he did at this time a year ago when he was trying to learn the new
"It's everything. Last year, the new offense, I didn't really know. I was
just trying to learn the offense. That was a big part in everything, just
trying to learn the offense and just trying to get better," Thomas said.
"This year, I know the offense, so I can help other people on everything
And he'll have to do just that. Now that he's the second-most experienced
offensive lineman at Clemson, Thomas is counted on as one of the leaders
for the Tigers' offensive front.
"Right now, I'm looking at trying to get the younger guys right and trying
to get them acclimated and everything, bring them along," he said. "Last
year really helped me with the offense. I know the plays. It's just
getting the young guys."
Tyler Shatley isn't a young guy, but he's inexperienced. He and Thomas
both signed with Clemson in 2009, but Shatley spent his first three years
at defensive tackle.
Shatley, who was moved across the ball in January, is now the starting
"It brings a lot of strength to our side," Thomas said. "He's a strong guy
and he's athletic. He has a strong first punch. At guard, you just pop up
and punch the guy. That really helps on that side, and pulling, too. He's
quick. He's a good puller. I like him very much."
The move was one Thomas was politicking for as early as last year.
"I was telling him all last year he could come over and play offense. They
had enough defensive guys. We were going to need some guards. I'm glad he
came over," Thomas said.
Opposite of Shatley, to the right of Thomas, is Kalon Davis.
"I like him on my side. I think, with me and him on that side, we'll do
well," Thomas said. "He's smart. He's quick, quick on pulls. He has to
work on some pass protection, but I do, too. I think he'll help us out a
lot at guard."
Thomas has something to prove
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