What to Like: Elite level defensive linemen are hard to find at the high school level. It's often mentioned among college coaches as the toughest position to find quality players at coming out of the high school ranks. There just aren't very many of them at a high level at that age. Thomas is one of them. At 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, he has ideal size for a major college defensive end. He's long, lean, and has a frame that should enable him to play in the 275-280 range down the road. Athletically, he's excellent. He runs well. He can change directions. He's explosive off the ball. He's light on his feet. When you watch him run around in shorts, he looks like a linebacker out there running around. He also comes from one of the state's premier prep programs. He's used to being in a competitive environment. He's used to getting good coaching. He's used to winning and playing in the spotlight. Miami had some issues late in the 2013 recruiting class with recruiting at this high school and this is great proof that those issues are now a thing of the past. Thomas has a wide variety of pass rushing moves, and makes a lot of plays in opposing backfields. He's a kid who can legitimately change games from his spot along the defensive line. His strength numbers are also very good.
What may concern you: Like a lot of high profile defensive linemen at the prep level, Thomas has a tendency to take plays off. He doesn't always go at full speed, which is a habit that he'll need to develop at the college level if he wants to become an elite player at that level. Because of his size, strength, and style of play there is a reason to believe that he could potentially outgrow the defensive end position and become a full-time tackle. Will he be able to keep his speed and athleticism at 280 pounds or will he have to get even bigger to play inside down the road? Those are some questions at this point.
Bottom Line: He's a big time player from a big time program, and he plays a position of need for the Hurricanes. He's a top 10 kid in the state. Everyone recruited him, including Alabama – which just offered him recently. This commitment proves that Miami continues getting tougher and tougher to beat for elite players in South Florida under Al Golden and his staff. Thomas will be one of the best prospects Miami signs in its 2014 class, and he's someone that will have a good chance to go in and play right away in 2014.