The 2014 football season is steadily approaching, and the new crop of freshmen is getting a lot of hype about being one of the most talented in years. One of the guys people aren’t talking about enough yet is Jonathan Thomas, an athletic linebacker from Georgia whose teammate is inexplicably throwing a ball at his head in the photo above. Look out, JT!
Clearly, Thomas was able to dodge that projectile but what we’re guessing is going to start happening sooner rather than later is that offensive players will find themselves unable to dodge him. How was that for a segue, eh?
Thomas is a tall, explosive athlete with a good frame, and despite being listed at just 199 on the official roster (he was listed at 210 all of last year, for what it’s worth), he already looks more than ready to step out onto the field and make an impact. To further illustrate that point, here’s a photo of the four freshmen linebackers that recently popped up online. That’s Thomas on the right. You know, the one who already looks like a grown ass man:
So why hasn’t Thomas been getting as much attention as, for instance, fellow linebacker Zaire Franklin? For starters, it’s based on who they have in front of them. Franklin projects, in all likelihood, to play the MIKE position, while Thomas is probably going to wind up as an outside backer. The only guy Franklin really has in front of him is a relatively green true sophomore in Marqez Hodge, while Thomas is behind seasoned veterans and potential All-ACC selections in Dyshawn Davis and Cam Lynch.
Still, it’s hard to deny the talent that Thomas brings with him. After all, this is a guy who chose Syracuse over an offer from Bob Stoops and Oklahoma. Linebackers coach Clark Lea recently spoke to the Post-Standard about his four freshmen, and spoke glowingly about his potential.
I’m going to be honest, it was probably the most impressive film that I have evaluated last year. High energy, making plays, plays very similar to the Sam position that we’re going to have him play here, blitzing off the edge, playing firm against the tight end. Then you see the energy level. You can tell he’s got a passion for the game.
So yeah, the coaches are just a little bit excited about Thomas. He has a chance to work his way into the two-deep this season, but obviously with Davis and Lynch ahead of him there’s the possibility the coaches may redshirt him and let him pack on another 10-15 pounds of muscle simply because, as currently constructed, the roster doesn’t show an immediate need at the outside backer position. That’s not to say his talent won’t force the coaches to play him, but it’s a nice luxury to have, isn’t it?
But don’t let me just tell you what an impressive looking player Jonathan Thomas is, have a look for yourself: