A former five star recruit who was considered a major “get” for the Seminoles back in 2013, fifth year senior Matthew Thomas has had an indirect path to where he is now, which is atop the Florida State tackles list in 2017. He was forced to redshirt in 2013 because of a shoulder injury and missed all of 2015 with another shoulder injury. However his tools started to shine, as he led the 2016 defense with 77 tackles and appears to be heading towards breaking through that number this season. The talent has been and still is there and a coach with the right vision may see a potential superstar here.
What He Does Well:
The speed and overall athleticism Thomas possesses jumps off the screen right away. He could pose as a wide receiver that plays defense with the ease and fluidity he shows in space. He has been showing more and more instinctive play in 2017, consistently taking positive snaps post-snap and rarely being caught out of position. His speed is a weapon in pursuit, but he controls it very well. He is disciplined within his role and what the scheme expects out of him. Thomas is very dialed in on assignments and what the offense is trying to do.
Where He Needs Work:
Thomas has a very hard time with the straight ahead game. When blockers are coming right at him he will fill the lane but he doesn’t have a stout presence. He can be knocked upright and back, making it very difficult to free himself. Thomas will make plenty of tackles, but he misses more than his fair share as well. He also hasn’t made a lot of plays in coverage for a player with his kind of role and athletic gifts. The questions can still be asked, does his frame have the ability to hold up and is he a bit of an underachiever?