Saturday, July 27, 2013

2013 Season Countdown: #33 Dymonte Thomas

Dymonte Thomas
Name: Dymonte Thomas
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 187 lbs.
High school: Alliance (OH) Marlington
Position: Defensive back
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #25
Last year: Thomas was a senior in high school. I gave him a TTB Rating of 89.

Thomas committed to Michigan in September 2011, during his junior season. That year he shared carries in the backfield with a Tennessee-bound running back, but it was Thomas's show as a senior; he was the go-to runner and basically played middle linebacker on defense, where he was allowed to roam from sideline to sideline. Thomas was selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl for his athletic exploits. There were some early concerns during the bowl practices because they were using him as a safety, where he didn't have much experience. But the coaching staff and observers were impressed with how quickly he picked up some nuances of the safety position. In the game itself, he showed good closing speed and hitting ability, but he wasn't tested much in coverage. Thomas left the game and went straight to Michigan to enroll early, where he seems to have latched onto the starting nickel corner gig.

This spring Thomas took most of the snaps at slot corner, and previous starter Courtney Avery bumped outside to back up the starting corners. The freshman should eventually end up playing strong safety, perhaps when fifth year senior Thomas Gordon graduates, but in the meantime, the coaches want to get him on the field. While he should play a significant number of snaps if he holds onto the nickel job, his value drops a little bit because there's a two-year starter in Avery who could easily slide back into the slot. Hopefully, Thomas can be physical, blitz a little off the edge, cover a little bit, and play almost like a coverage linebacker.

Prediction: "Starting" slot corner; 25 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception


  1. Is Thomas the exception to "Thunder's Rule" about defensive position changes away from the line of scrimmage?

    I really liked the idea of a big, fast, punishing tackler like Thomas is reputed to be at slot corner and wouldn't mind seeing him spend some years there as that sideline to sideline thing is very appealing to me. This approach has certainly worked for the Buckeyes.

    Yeah, I know the fans hoped for plan is Peppers at slot corner and our two young safeties to patrol together for the next couple years. That's a good plan and it has been a long, long time since we've had two stud safeties running around back there at the same time, but I'd rather see Peppers busy at an outside corner and then a little slot maybe and on the occasional return .... maybe even a Jet Sweep now and again if only to get everybody on there feet and to make opposing DCs puke on their shoes. Let the big boy hit people in the mouth.

    At least a couple of those big corners are gonna grow.

    1. If Thomas is a stud it would be silly to keep him a part-time player. As a frosh, that's fine, but after this season he needs to be a full-time player (assuming he's as good as we hope and think he can be.)

    2. You don't have to leave him off the field when you're playing your base defense, let him play strong safety, just step him up and inside when you go nickle and bring in a safety behind him. Now you get the best of both worlds.

      I have no example to offer, but somebody is doing it.

    3. I'd be okay with Thomas as a SS but not a FS right now. He was also a different kind of LB than Furman, for example, so the difference between positions is smaller.

  2. Heck, it's been a long time since we had even ONE stud safety on our defense. Two would be almost unheard of.

    And this is yet another indication of just how poor RR's recruiting and retention of talent was. Avery is a senior, and one of the BEST players to come out of the 2010 recruiting class, and he's getting beaten out by a true freshman. Speaks well for the future, but it's why we're still a bit thin this year.

    1. Chris Bryant, one of the best recruits in the '11 class, has been passed over by '12 guys already. And some of the best '12 recruits will get passed over by '13 and '14 recruits. So it goes.

  3. Like everyone else, I'm excited about Thomas. Using a freshman at slot corner/nickelback seems like an ideal role to break in our future safeties and cornerbacks. Thomas' experience at playing LB should help him in the slot corner role overall, but may expose us to some play-action troubles.

    Long-term, I really like Wilson and Thomas' potential, but these things don't always work out as hoped, so it's nice we have all these taller CBs and kids like Delano Hill, Jeremy Clark, etc. We're going to be good at safety. Actually, we're going to be good everywhere, so I'm inclined to think Michigan's defense will keep maintaining a top 20 defense year in and year out. To get to top 5, we'll need some true impact players. Hopefully Thomas is one of them.