Derron Thomas - RB - 5-11, 190, 4.43/40 - Reserve, LA (East Saint John)
Having had to replace a few key offensive linemen is tough on any offense, most definitely on the running back in a scheme that demands the running back be the feature weapon.
Coming off a year where you were already prolific as well, now you are a target with fewer of those experienced "bigguns" in front, comforting you and of course, opening cavern-sized holes.
Obstacles though have not deterred Derron Thomas as his almost 10 yards per carry average is almost identical to the one he had a year before, a season that saw him run for almost 1,400 yards and score 18 touchdowns. People are paying closer attention, but Thomas finds a way to get it done. "Our new line is coming around and are blocking good." Thomas stated. "We are trying to run it at them (the opponents) to try and open up the passing game."
The lack of a totally 50/50 run to pass hasn't derailed some post-season hopes though as his team is still 5-1 on the season. 5-1 and as Thomas stated, thinking positive about the future. "I think we'll finish the season 9-1." he said of the regular season.
The stats Derron has put up this year and of course, last year, have helped to put Thomas in the eye of schools like, Colorado, LSU, Michigan, Florida State and Nebraska, Derron stating that all those have offered him in writing. With that kind of attention, it's understandable how anyone could get confused as to what is most important.
Thomas does know though.
"The way a team runs the ball is important to me." Derron said. "I wouldn't mind getting it around 25 carries a game. I would like to catch it out of the backfield sometimes to."
The actual play of his position is important, but he's not just looking at what he could possibly do for a team, but also, he's looking at those who are doing it for that team right now. "I'm taking a look at the depth charts." he said. "I would like to go to a place where I have a chance to play early if I can. So, I talk to coaches about who they have, how many, what grade, just to see where I could fit in."
Most would probably say that Derron could fit in anywhere, his slashing style in combination with his deceptive physicality, it bodes well for anyone looking for a diverse back that as he stated, has good vision and can run through or around defenders equally well.
His status as a "desired player" gives him a luxury of not having to hurry his decision or even his visits. Derron does look at the post-season as most likely the time where he will take his five official visits, some schools apparently already determined, though not scheduled as of yet. "I know I will probably end up visiting, Michigan, Florida State, Miami and Nebraska for sure." he said.
So, the time-line is extended to the point where fans can just sit back and watch the Louisiana standout, stand out that much more. Should that happen, his picture might change, but his top four seems to be pretty set, at least for now.
Steve Ryan can be reached at email@example.com