Jordan Thomas of Union Endicott (NY) was a standout amongst the plethora of talent at Rutgers camp…
Thomas Shows Great Instincts
The first thing you see when watching Thomas on defense is his ability to break a play down in his head before it even starts. From seeing his film and watching him at passing camps he takes his first snaps before the quarterback takes the ball from center and shows a great knack for reading what the offense is going to do. Instincts are not something you can teach. The great ones have them, the solid ones don't, and it's that simple. An example of this was watching him at the New Level Athletics passing camp on a play I remember very vividly. The opponent had overloaded one side of the field and therefore, the defense had shifted over to cover that. Most safeties would automatically cheat to that side, however Thomas saw the single coverage on the weak side and started to sneak up pre-snap. The corner covering the opposing receiver lost inside leverage and would have been beaten for the play, but Thomas had already started his approach and knocked the post-pattern away, nearly intercepting the ball. That's something you want out of your safeties, instincts and players that go after the ball.
To go along with very good instincts, Thomas brings very good closing speed to the field which will help him defending passes in the secondary and also coming down field to play the run. On top of his speed, he does take good angles to the ball which is just as important. I've seen him come into the run game and put very good tackles on running backs, however I also was impressed by his discipline when taking support angles as his teammates try and make the tackle. As a safety, his job will be to make sure the ball does not get past him and he plays intelligent football.
Thomas showed that he can be an offensive threat in high school both as a receiver and a running back. These are both very important qualities that will again, turn a good safety into a great one over time. He has very solid ball skills and when he does pick off a pass, he turns into a running back on the return. Turnovers are a huge part of the game, but it's not just about taking the ball away, it's about making something special happen with that turnover to help your team out with field position. While I don't see the agility that Thomas would need to play running back, he does have the change of direction ability to play in the secondary.
Overall, Thomas has shown the athletic ability and instincts to be a starter at the collegiate level at safety. Now he'll have the opportunity to focus on that single position at Rutgers and fine-tune what he can do.
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