The Big East's best: No. 22

February, 17, 2011
2/17/11
9:00
AM ET
Jumping back into our list of the Top 25 players in the Big East, based on their performance in the 2010 season:

No. 22

[+] EnlargeWest Virginia's J.T. Thomas
Charles LeClaire/USPRESSWIREWest Virginia linebacker J.T. Thomas was named to the All-Big East first team by the coaches.
J.T. Thomas, LB, West Virginia, Sr.

Preseason rank: No. 15

2010 numbers: Had 73 tackles, including seven for loss, plus 2.5 sacks, four pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

Making the case for Thomas: West Virginia finished third in the nation in total defense in 2010, so there were several heroes on that side of the ball. As such, few individual players on that defense had amazing numbers.

But those who watched closely saw the value Thomas brought at outside linebacker. That included the league coaches, who voted Thomas to the All-Big East first team at the conference's deepest position in 2010, linebacker. Like his dad before him, Thomas turned into a major playmaker on defense for the Mountaineers with his speed and understanding of the game. He was also one of the better leaders on the team and a consistent force on the league's best defense.

Thomas will get a shot to impress NFL scouts. He already proved his worth as standout tackler for West Virginia.

Previously

No. 25: Zach Hurd, OG, Connecticut
No. 24: Dave Teggart, K, Connecticut
No. 23: Derrell Smith, LB, Syracuse

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