Evaluation: Solomon Thomas

At 260 pounds as a high school junior, Solomon Thomas is an elite prospect who would be an ideal fit as a 3-4 defensive end. His skill set does provide other options, as he could shine on the strong side as a 4-3 defensive end, or, with 20-30 more pounds, as a three-technique in a 4-3. All told, Thomas' versatility and skill make him one of 2014's most sought-after DLs.

Name: Solomon Thomas
Hometown: Coppell, Texas
High School: Coppell
Year: 2014
GPA: N/A
SAT: N/A
ACT: N/A
Key Offers: Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Stanford, Texas

Category/Service RivalsESPNScout247 Sports
PositionSDEDEDESDE
Height 6'3"6'3"6'3"6'3"
Weight263265245251
40 TimeNANANANA
Star Rating4NA44
Service Score6.0/6.1NANA97/99
Pos. Rank3NA53
Nat'l Rank28NA2739
State RankNANA105

Ratings Overview
Solomon Thomas has the early ratings of a consensus blue-chipper. There are no outliers among the services with respect to his current rankings and ratings, which project him to make an early and consistent impact during his college playing days. Having a top-10 state ranking for the state of Texas is a serious credential, and two services so far have so anointed Thomas. He has earned those rankings with his play during games as well as his showings in camps.

Evaluation
Solomon Thomas is a strong and explosive player who utilizes a number of skills to wreak havoc on offensive backfields. He uses his hands extremely well for a high school player. Throughout his video, he shows that he is able to engage and create separation from opponents with his arms, showing great, mature upper body strength. His upper body strength also allows him to quickly initiate powerful contact off of the snap, which throws offensive linemen off-balance and prevents them from gaining forward momentum when they fire out.

Along with his physical strength, Thomas also has the quickness to beat offensive lineman off the snap. He has tremendous explosiveness for any football player, let alone one of his size. On run plays, Thomas quickly sheds blocks and changes direction to get down the line and make tackles, which highlights a good motor. He plays consistently at a very low plane, giving him leverage against opposing linemen and enabling him to swiftly redirect towards ball carriers. The quickness with which Thomas sheds blocks and pursues allows him to prevail even in situations in which an offensive lineman has good position on him.

In order to get to the quarterback on the pass plays in his game highlights, Thomas doesn't need to do much other than bull-rush or run past overmatched opponents. His game video thus doesn't show much variety with respect to pass rush techniques. However, other non-game video does put his athleticism on display, and he shows a good speed rush and a strong rip technique. That video also flashes some shoulder-turn ability not seen on his game video. His play style would allow him to fit well as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme, especially as he develops his capacity for turning his shoulders. Such will enable him to "get small" when slicing through the offensive line, increasing the effectiveness of his swim move and his overall inside pass rush.

Thomas is a disciplined prospect who is very aware and knows his position well. One can note several instances during his video in which he recognizes the possibility of a cutback and stays square to the line, rather than turning and sprinting to the ball carrier. Alternatively, when he senses that a cutback is not available or the runner has declared, he appropriately sprints and tracks down the running back or quarterback.

At 260 pounds as a high school junior, Solomon Thomas is an elite prospect who would be an ideal fit as a 3-4 defensive end. His skill set does provide other options, as he could shine on the strong side as a 4-3 defensive end, or, with 20-30 more pounds, as a three-technique in a 4-3. The versatility and skill demonstrated by Thomas contribute to his impressive profile as one of the most sought-after defensive linemen in the 2014 class.


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