Bryan Thomas Will Find A Home At Safety

When the Florida Gators began putting the recruiting class of 2006 together, the emphasis was on improving team speed and finding playmakers for every position. When the Gators got the commitment from Bryan Thomas, the do-all athlete from Zephyrhills, they knew they had a special player who will find a home quickly at safety.

(See Bryan Thomas profile)

Thomas is a 6-2, 192-pounder who is blessed with 4.39 speed in the 40-yard dash and incredible football instincts. He is the kind of player who could succeed at a number of positions but UF's safety coach Doc Holliday believes Thomas is the perfect fit at safety for Florida's defensive scheme

Thomas committed to the Gators after the Florida State game, but couldn't hide his interest in the orange and blue for the weeks leading up to his commitment. He was a Gator for a while and Holliday couldn't be happier about his decision.

"He's a great kid and always wanted to be a Gator," Holliday said. Thomas knew he would be a Gator long before he made his commitment to Florida the same night the Gators smashed Florida State, 34-7, at The Swamp.

"He brings a lot to the table as far as athleticism," Holliday continued. "He is close to being a corner and he gives you an athlete at the safety position. Any time you get a kid as big as he is and can run like that, you are anxious to get him in here and work with him. We are extremely happy to be able to work with him this fall."

Thomas is not only an outstanding football player, but he is a young man with high character, something else that Coach Urban Meyer emphasized that he wanted to bring to Gainesville. The entire recruiting class is filled with top rated players who are leaders on and off the field.

"The great thing about this class is that they are good players and great people," said Holliday. "It is exciting to get all these great kids in at one time and see what we can do with them."

Thomas was a do everything player for the Zephyrhills Bulldogs this season. On offense he played running back, wide receiver and a little at quarterback. On defense he played cornerback, linebacker and mostly safety. Rare were the moments when he came off the field.

On the defensive side of the ball, Thomas had five interceptions, three that he returned for touchdowns. He also had 83 tackles and four sacks. On special teams, he blocked three kicks and returned three kicks for touchdowns. On offense, he accounted for more than 1,300 total yards and 10 touchdowns as he led the Bulldogs into the state playoffs.

Holliday thinks there is a chance for a young guy like Thomas to come in and carve out some playing time as a freshman.

"Reggie Nelson, Kyle Jackson, and Tony Joiner have played a lot," Holliday said. "But, there is no doubt that the positions will be wide open going in."

Bryan Thomas is fully qualified, having scored a passing mark on the SAT when he was just a sophomore. He's well known for his work ethic on and off the field. Even during his high school football season, Thomas held down a part time job while making good grades in the classroom and handling the role of star player on the football team. Don't be surprised if he is pushing for playing time early on once two-a-days start at UF in August.

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