The multi-talented Chad Thomas has remained a sort of enigma for those outside of Miami. No one is sure what label to put on a guy who has succeeded in many avenues. Talented musician, a remarkable producer, and, of course, an excellent football player,Thomas definitely marches to his own tune (both figuratively and literally).
At the beginning of his career at Miami, most fans wanted to give him the label of star. A five-star prospect from the prestigious Booker T. Washington High School, Thomas was one of the most sought-after players in the nation for his recruiting class. In his senior year with the Tornadoes, Thomas put together 71 tackles and six sacks, catching the eye of just about every program in the country. Participating in major high school events such as the Under Armour All-America and Nike’s The Opening, the multiple first-team All-Dade and All-State member was as accomplished as any player can be coming out of high school.
Holding offers from the usual suspects—Alabama, LSU, FSU and Florida—Thomas chose to stay close to home and develop all of his talents at the University of Miami for the next four years. Thomas provided immediate dividends to a Hurricanes defensive line that was primed for a star at the defensive end position. In his freshman year, Thomas earned immediate playing time, playing in the opening game of the 2014 season against Louisville. Similar to freshmen before him, it wasn’t enough to just be contributing right away—he needed to play that Miami style of defense that players aspire to and that ’Cane fans admire.
The Hurricanes have long been known as a school that not only cultivates talent, but develops kids into legitimate NFL products. Taking steps forward as a sophomore, Thomas played in all 13 games, starting eight games that season. Among the highlights of the 2015 season, Thomas picked up his first collegiate sack against Virginia Tech. Thomas also tied his career-best for tackles in game with three against FAU. After taking part in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, Thomas’ final stat line for the season saw him put together 18 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack, four QB hurries and one pass break up. Fans wanted more from Thomas, envisioning a defensive line that would see him pair up with fellow pass-rusher DE Al-Quadin Muhammad .
With a new staff in place, Thomas’ junior season saw him become a pupil of defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski. With new leadership in place among the coaching staff, Thomas thrived. Shining in Miami’s biggest rivalry, Thomas scored four tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. With so much youth on the defensive side of the ball, Thomas became the leader for a defensive line group that needed the leadership on, and away from, the field. That’s exactly what Thomas did in the 2016 season, leading the ’Canes in tackles with nine against Appalachian State. Thomas looked unstoppable coming off the edge against Virginia, recording six tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack. Capping off a breakout campaign, Thomas put together a four tackle, half sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery game in the Russell Athletic Bowl to end the season.
Before playing a snap as a senior, Thomas,—better known as Major Nine—made headlines for his production on songs for Rick Ross and DJ Khaled. Garnering praise for his musical talents, Thomas is more than just a star football player. The success in the recording studio has translated to the football field. With plenty of games remaining in the 2017 season, Thomas has 20 tackles, seven-and-a-half tackles for loss, three sacks and two QB hurries. Considering that Thomas is tasked with taking on blocks from tackles, tight ends and running backs, Thomas’ stats are more impressive when taken into consideration.
You can hear it in his music, you see in his celebration after he gets a sack and starts playing the invisible piano—Chad Thomas is an artist, a student, a captain and, most of all, is as Miami as it gets. Thomas is not defined by one label; he is the product of all of them.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!