While Jordan Thomas brings a unique skill set with him to Starkville, the former East Central Community College standout is getting to know the life and times of the SEC.
"It's tough," Thomas said with a slight smile. "We're working hard and I'm working hard to get on the field. I have three tremendous tights ends in front of me. They are telling me what I should do and how I should do it. We are working on the plays together and I am learning from them. That's the best thing I can do.'
Thomas reports that Bulldogs' tight end coach Scott Sallach has provided some quality feedback that will serve the talented Sumrall High alumnus well in his quest to make plays in the Maroon and White this fall.
"When I block, I muscle people up," Thomas said. "All through high school and junior college, I was bigger and stronger than everybody. I was just able to muscle people up, so I am working hard on not doing that. This is the SEC. Everybody here is bigger, faster and stronger than what I am used to playing against. Everybody is my size. There is more technique and I have to get that down."
Thomas is a newcomer to the tight end depth chart. By virtue of being a junior college transfer, Thomas enters the fall as the only scholarship upperclassmen tight end. Ironically, a sophomore and redshirt freshman are acting as mentors for the talented junior.
"Justin Johnson and Farrod (Green) are really working hard with me on the plays," Thomas said. "We stick together. Everyday we are with each other helping each other out. They tell me what I need to do and what I can do better. They have been great to me ever since I have been here."
With the pads on and the defense hitting for real, Thomas is being indoctrinated to a new level of football. The intensity and speed of the game are among the toughest things to adjust to for any player new to the SEC.
"It's tough now," Thomas said. "A.J. ( Jefferson) is an outstanding defensive end for us. Anfernee Mullins and Kobe Jones are good players too. Brandon Bryant is an outstanding safety too. Going up against those guys is only making me stronger and making me better.
"I am learning to read defenses when I am running out of a route and just working on my eyes. I just want to get better at everything I'm doing."
Much is made over the Bulldogs' quarterback competition. While there are four capable signal callers battling it out, Thomas reports that his job never changes no matter who is barking the signals.
"Nothing really changes for me," Thomas said. "All four of them are tremendous athletes. They all have outstanding arms and they are all great. I would be happy with any of them. They all do a great job."
No matter who turns out to be the starting quarterback for Mississippi State, Thomas is doing his part to be on the field to help him win football games.
"I am working on my blocking and giving relentless effort in everything I do," Thomas said. "I am doing all I can to give outstanding effort every time I get on the field and practice. I just want to help this team in anyway I can."
Thomas and the rest of the Bulldogs are working through their first full week of pads down on the South Farm. Classes begin on August 16th and the Bulldog practices will return to the Seal Complex as the team prepares to open against South Alabama on September 3rd. Kickoff is slated for 11 A.M. Tickets are available.