By the end of the 2016, junior DE Chad Thomas was one of the best and most consistent contributors on the Hurricanes defense. In 2014 and 2015, his true freshman and sophomore seasons, Thomas underwhelmed many with his production after coming in with the most promise.
In his first two seasons, the 6’6” 265 lbs. Miami native only recorded 25 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss (TFL) and one sack. In his junior season alone, Thomas accounted for 37 tackles, 11 TFL and 4.5 sacks. Thanks to a scheme change under defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, while also receiving daily trading from the best defensive line coach in the country, Craig Kuligowski, Chad responded with his best season as a Cane.
His most dominant game as a Cane came at Appalachian State, when he recorded nine total tackles and numerous TFLs.
These highlights are posted for two reasons: Chad Thomas was a monster this game, just see how often he was in the App State backfield, and because Miami DOMINATED this game. Like, App State really thought they stood a chance against the MIAMI HURRICANES! LAUGHABLE!
However, his most notable performance wasn’t on the football field:
December 27, 2016
“WE ‘THE U!’ AIN’T NO STOPPING US!”
I think WVU got the message...
Thomas took a major leap in his development in his junior season, and will only improve moving forward as the Canes will bring back their ENTIRE front seven next season. Coupled with freshman phenom Joe Jackson (8.5 sacks), Thomas and Jackson will form one of the most prolific defensive end duos in the entire country.
Chad, who is not lacking confidence, knows the type of season he had, but knows the work is not done. With another full offseason to improve his condition and hone in on his skills with D-Line guru Coach Kool, Thomas is going to be looking to make himself some money in 2017 and prepare to be an early round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Canes will boast one of the top defenses in the country next season, and Thomas should continue his leadership amongst the younger defensive lineman starters for Miami. 2017 should be a memorable defensive season for the Canes, and Chad Thomas will take the next step and become one of the best ends in the ACC.