"It's troubling sometimes, knowing you're practicing hard and you aren't going to get to play in any games," Thomas told CUTigers.com in a recent interview. "It kind of got to me a little bit."
Before he was a freshman, Thomas knew he was going to redshirt. Ranked by Scout.com as the nation's No. 14 offensive tackle with a four-star rating, he wasn't sure what to expect.
Times were particularly tough during the summer and through camp.
"Now, everything is alright. I'm pressing along getting through it. It's all good now," he said.
Thomas also had to deal with moving to a new position. At the end of the 2009 season, he was shifted to left guard because of Mason Cloy's injury.
"They said they like the way I pull and how I move my feet," Thomas said.
Entering spring practice, he's slated as second on the depth chart at left tackle behind Chris Hairston. Offensive line coach Brad Scott likens where Thomas is now to where Dalton Freeman was before last spring.
"He showed some athletic ability as a freshman, he redshirted, we worked with him during the bowl practices and he did some good things," Scott said. "Now, let's just throw him into the mix a little bit and see if he can do some things."
With so many veterans returning to starting positions along the line, he doesn't lose sleep on the likelihood of a reserve role this fall.
"If I don't start, that'll be alright. Hopefully, I'll just get some playing time, but I'm still fighting for a starting spot," he said.
Scott likes Thomas' athleticism, which affords him an opportunity to line up at left tackle.
"He's just learning the game…he'll probably get most of the reps with the twos (in the spring)," Scott said. "We'll work him in there, maybe with the ones in the last half of it.
"We want to give him time to get some confidence."
Before he arrived at Clemson, Thomas weighed 260 because of an ACL injury during his senior year at Dorman High School. He's now back into the 290s.
"Everybody's looking forward to playing. I know I am. I'm ready to play," he said.
Thomas ready for action
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