Position: Middle/Outside Linebacker
Hometown: Perry, Ga.
Hard-hitting tackler who was an all-around defensive threat for the Tigers throughout his career … One of the team's best athletes, winning the Offseason Conditioning Award as a sophomore and senior … Recipient of the Pat Dye Leadership Award as a junior … Started for three year at strongside outside linebacker before shifting to the middle as a senior … Finished his career with 350 tackles (165 solos), 61/2 sacks for minus-51 yards, 30 stops for losses of 104 yards, 15 pass deflections, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and a blocked kick in 48 games … His 350 tackles rank eighth on the school's career-record list while his 185 assisted tackles rank fifth … A three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member, he was also the winner of the inaugural Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award for football in the Southeastern Conference.
Positives: Has a tall frame with long arms and legs, good upper body muscle definition, thick chest and shoulders … Shows good football instincts and is very quick to locate and track the ball on running plays (just adequate in pass coverage) … Will come downhill and take on blocks with effective strength, using his hands with force to shed … Able to get off blocks quickly and has outstanding ability to run sideline to sideline … Covers ground well and is able to run through traffic and avoid low blocks on the move, giving great effort in pursuit … Solid tackler who brings his arms to wrap and secure, showing pop behind his hits … Has the sudden burst needed to close off the edge and run down the opponent coming from the back side … Self-made type with a good attitude and the ability to handle hard coaching.
Negatives: Change of direction agility is only adequate, but can cover ground quickly … Will struggle to maintain position on the tight ends working in the short area … Gets a little too high in his backpedal and has stiffness in his hips that makes him look a bit awkward turning and dropping back in the zone … Does not locate and pick up the receiver well in zone coverage, seeing the play develop too late (also gets frozen by misdirection and play action).
4.57 in the 40-yard dash … Bench pressed 315 pounds twice … 325-pound power clean … 450-pound squat … 39-inch vertical jump … 11-foot-2 broad jump … 321/4-inch arm length … 91/4-inch hands … Right-handed.
Attended Perry (Ala.) High, playing football for coach George Collins … Class 2-A all-state selection … Played linebacker, defensive back, receiver and quarterback, recording 78 tackles (50 solos) and intercepted six passes, returning one for a touchdown, as a senior … Picked up 278 yards on just 14 carries as a senior (19.9 avg.) … Three-sport athlete, also competing in track and basketball.
Graduated in May, 2003 in Management Information Systems … Nicknamed "Reindeer" because of his running style … Son of Mary Jo and Charles Lawson, Sr. … Born Dontarrious Donta Thomas on Sept. 2, 1980 … Resides in Perry, Ala.
Dontarrious Thomas NFL Bio
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