Year of Eligibility: Senior
Position: Defensive end
Measurables: Six foot six, 275 pounds
Career Stats: 62 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Chad Thomas is the archetype of a defensive end, blessed with the frame to handle the run and the strength to allow him to shed blockers. Thomas possess multiple talents, including stacking and shedding blockers at the line of scrimmage.
He has the size, at six foot six and 275 pounds, that translates to the NFL. Possessing speed to turn the corner and reach the quarterback, Thomas has morphed into the defensive playmaker that fans envisioned when he enrolled in the program in 2014.
Chuck D and Flavor Flav, Rakim and Eric B, Puff Daddy and Mase—great duos in hip-hop who made a solid run together. Hurricane fans have been wanting to find a bookend for Thomas since his arrival in 2014. There was the chance with Al-Quadin Muhammad, but suspensions derailed that dream. Trent Harris filled in admirably but was more of a hype man than a co-star. Then last season, the spotlight shone on someone new: Joe Jackson grabbed the mic and the opposing teams’ quarterbacks, finally sharing the stage with Thomas.
Thomas put together a solid year in his junior season, earning 11 tackles for loss, which was just 0.5 behind Joe Jackson. Thomas followed Jackson once more, finishing second on the team in sacks with 4. There is no doubt that Thomas is capable of beating his career bests in the 2017 season to close out his time at UM. That potential in 2017 is the reason why Thomas was named to the Ted Hendricks Award preseason watch list earlier this month.
While it’s hard to say whether any collegiate player has mastered the game, Thomas has employed a variety of moves to keep blockers away from him. By using pure speed to dip under an opponent, one-arming blockers to read the play, or trudging forward with a bull rush to collapse the pocket, he has become a jack-of-all-trades as a pass rusher.
When it comes to hustle, never giving up on the play is just as important as consistency. Miami fans witnessed Thomas’s hustle in action against FSU a season ago and in the Russell Athletic Bowl. It’s one of the reasons why he is the leader of the defensive line and a team captain. Thomas’s relentless nature and consistency make him a prized defensive member. Whether defending the run or pass, he does a great job of keeping leverage so that the offense struggles to turn the corner on his side. Even on run plays, he makes the effort to get into the play, often rallying to the ball to make sure the play is done.
Thomas is also talented off the field, being able to play nine different instruments. Recently, his gift of musical production has taken the spotlight. As at the time of writing, Thomas has produced songs for Miami hip-hop artists DJ Khaled, Kodak Black, and Rick Ross. While you usually know who a player is by his senior year, recently the spotlight has been on Thomas’s musical success rather than his athletic talent. Here’s hoping that Thomas can be just as successful between the hashes as he is in the recording studio.
For a guy who has let it be known that he would love to win both the national championship and a Grammy, his aspirations no longer appear lofty.
When it comes to the 2017 season, we believe that Thomas’s on-field production will match his musical production and maybe even exceed it.