In the season-opener against Kentucky, the 6'2, 200 pound strong safety from New Smyrna Beach, Florida, became the first true freshman under Petrino to start the first game. Thomas made one tackle in his debut, but followed that performance up with a solid effort against Temple last weekend, recording two tackles and a sack.
Despite his two tackles and sack against the Owls, the play that had his coach talking following the game was the pass he broke up in the end zone to help preserve the Cardinals 62-0 shutout.
"He played well last weekend," Petrino said. "He ran and hit. He had a nice sack on the blitz and a nice deflection on a pass in the end zone. I asked him why he didn't intercept it and he said it was fourth down and you're supposed to bat the ball down."
"I said ‘really you knew that,' Petrino said. And he said ‘Well, no I'm just kidding."
Petrino said the former four-star prospect is still making a few mental and alignment type mistakes, but overall, the fourth-year Louisville coach has been pleased with the progress of his talented rookie, who moved from wide receiver to the secondary during summer workouts.
"I wished he really did know that was what you were really supposed to do," added Petrino. "I think someone on the sideline helped him out with the answer. But he's going to be a great player. He's still making some alignment mistakes, but fortunately our linebackers made up for it."