Solomon Thomas, the No. 25 player in the ESPN 300, is one of the nation's top players still on the board. Thomas is looking at Stanford, Texas, UCLA and others. What will he bring to the school that lands him?
Solomon Thomas has shown versatility that will allow him to play different positions and in different schemes.
What he brings: A tough, rugged and physical style of play. He’s never going to be a flashy or explosive pass-rusher; that’s not his game. However, he is always going to be very sound and technically sharp. He has a physical style at the point of attack and is able to use his hands, play with leverage and disengage from contact in the trenches. He is a player who we feel would fit in perfectly as a 5-technique on the end or inside as a defensive tackle. We don’t feel he is a 9-technique that will wow you off the edge as a pass-rusher. He’s just a darn good football player who does the little things well. He can overwhelm offensive linemen versus the run and plug holes and is very active in terms of motor. He’ll always be a steady force within the group along the front, and you know you are going to get physical, productive play. Stopping the run is the foremost principle of defensive play, and Thomas can sure do that.
Who he reminds us of: DE Jonathan Bullard, Florida. Bullard is in the same mold of Thomas in the sense that he is a ‘tweener defensive end/defensive tackle who is at his best against the run. This is what Bullard brings to a Florida defensive unit that features other, truer pass-rushers around him. He is complementary in many roles, and we feel Thomas brings this same value and versatility. You can also count on them on early downs to hold the point of attack.
Teams with the biggest need at the position:
Georgia: They lose DE Garrison Smith and will have a lot of seniors this fall, including Ray Drew, at end. The interior has numbers in the defensive front, but the end spots need addressing.
Texas: DTs Ashton Dorsey and Chris Whaley and DE Jackson Jeffcoat are gone. DE Cedric Reed will be a senior, and DT Malcom Brown will be a junior and a likely candidate to depart early for the NFL draft.
Miami: DE Shayon Green is a senior, and DE Anthony Chickillo will be a senior next fall. Several reserves are either juniors or seniors as well. This is a front that needs to add size, numbers and depth along the front.
Wisconsin: As they have transitioned to the 3-4 defense, the Badgers need different types of players up front and defensive ends/outside linebackers who can rush the passer and play coverage. This is a scheme in transition for coach Gary Anderson.
UCLA: The Bruins lose a big one in DE/OLB Antony Barr. They also lose the player opposite of him in DE Cassius Marsh. DE Brandon Willis will be a senior next fall.
Other uncommitted options at the position (three left in the ESPN 300):
DE Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross): He is going to need to get in the weight room, as right now he is purely a pass-rusher and pursuit player who lacks strength and bulk at the point of attack.
DE Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian): This guy really picked up steam last summer as a well-rounded, complete player with speed to power off the edge.
DE Isaiah Nacua (Provo, Utah/Timpview): Nacua is a tough, rugged player who gives great effort and is very sound overall. He has productive leadership qualities too.