Summer Top 50 - No. 13 Dwayne Thomas

Defensive back Dwayne Thomas comes in at No. 13 on TSD's top 50 countdown of LSU players for 2015. How much will an off-the-field brush with the law affect Thomas' status to begin the season?

HOOVER, Ala. – Because everyone loves to rank things, and because summer is the best time to argue and debate, TSD is spending the coming weeks through the end of July rolling out its top 50 LSU football players for the coming season.

Many are seasoned veterans and a select few are new to the roster, but all 50 Tigers figure to make an impact on the gridiron in 2015.

So we hope you enjoy this list, updated once each weekday and compiled by the TSD staff of Ben Love and Hunter Paniagua (who, naturally, had disagreements of their own along the way).

Today the countdown continues at No. 13 with a player facing a number of obstacles to get back on the field in 2015, defensive back Dwayne Thomas.

REASON FOR OPTIMISM


Thomas was legitimately blossoming into a star in 2014, his redshirt sophomore season, before injury claimed the final eight games and change of his campaign. In just less than four and a half contests, the New Orleanian registered 24 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two quarterback hurries, an interception and a fumble recovery.

He reminded a great deal of former Tiger Ron Brooks, excelling as the defense's dime back (sixth defensive back). Thomas (6-0, 182) has a fairly rare combination of coverage ability, giving LSU another capable slot DB opposite Jalen Mills, and pass-rushing instinct, making life easier on the Tigers' defensive ends when he comes crashing in on the quarterback.

It wasn't a flash in the pan last fall, either, considering Thomas played in 11 games in 2013, totaling four tackles for loss, three sacks and two forced fumbles taking over the dime back role from Micah Eugene. Everything about Thomas' development on the field points to a player that should thrive as a veteran in the SEC, even if there's a new coordinator in town in Kevin Steele.

STILL LEFT TO PROVE


As splendidly as things have gone for Thomas and his progression between the lines, there are two off-the-field matters that could make this ranking too high for the fourth-year player. First, and most importantly, Thomas is currently suspended indefinitely for his alleged involvement in an on-campus burglary in June.

While the other two team members implicated (QB Anthony Jennings, DL Maquedius Bain) simply had unlawful entry charges, Thomas tacked on a theft charge, making it more likely he misses a handful of games to begin the 2015 season. Should that happen, the door opens for youngsters like Kevin Toliver and Donte Jackson to make a run at Thomas' role.

The other matter is Thomas' history with injuries. A torn ACL derailed his season last fall while another injury cut his 2012 slate short. Thomas in 2012 played in three of the first four LSU games, but he was able to receive a medical redshirt nonetheless following the injury. He'll have to prove he can stay healthy and on the field to continue fending off talented youngsters entering DBU.





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