|Dymonte Thomas (image via MGoBlog)|
Weight: 191 lbs.
High school: Alliance (OH) Marlington
Jersey number: #25
Last year: I ranked Thomas #43 and said he would be a backup safety and special teamer. He started three games, making 27 tackles and 1 forced fumble.
Much was expected from Thomas when he came out of high school in 2013, and he took a step toward fulfilling some of that promise as a sophomore. He burned a redshirt that first season for some very spotty playing time, and he worked his way into a part-time starter last year, also playing a role on special teams. A man seemingly without a position (he started off his career playing corner, moved into the slot, and then moved to safety), he put up decent numbers for a guy who should have been a redshirt freshman seeing his first game action.
I still have hopes for Thomas. Michigan had a pretty good safety several years ago who made 27 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 2 pass breakups as a sophomore. His name was Jamar Adams. The Wolverines seem to be in pretty good shape at the safety position, at least according to practice reports. Senior Jarrod Wilson and redshirt freshman Jabrill Peppers are near locks to be starters, and apparently the coaches really like junior Delano Hill as a third option. That might leave Thomas on the outside looking in, but he could once again contribute on special teams and both Peppers and Hill have missed time due to injuries in their short careers. I do not expect Thomas to start, but he will be a key backup and coverage guy.
Prediction: Backup safety, special teamer
Can you see Thomas as a "hybrid space player" (what they're supposedly doing with Peppers)? That might have been a spur/bandit/whatever in the Rodriguez years.ReplyDelete
Yeah, that seems to be where he would probably fit best.Delete
Also, is it just me, or does the Thomas situation under Hoke remind anyone vaguely of Josh Furman (in that Hoke and company seemed to have had rigid standards about minimum weights and positions)?ReplyDelete
I guess I don't see that comparison. I think Furman should have been a linebacker, but I think Thomas has the athleticism to be a safety, just not roaming deep center field. He's more of an in-the-box guy.Delete
Furman. Definitely had the talent and size to be playing SOMEWHERE, but Hoke wanted big meaty linebackers, and a 4.4 Furman I didn't fit that mold. I don't really see Thomas not being big enough to play safety, or slot. If this coaching staff wants to try to play him at linebacker, I'm sure they would, but he legitimately doesn't seem big enough to play there (192 lbs). Furman had ten pounds on him.Delete
Take it for what it is worth, but I heard from a practice observer last fall that Thomas pretty much struggles in any coverage situation, even when matched up with scout team slots and H-backs. He has not looked particularly natural to me in game snaps either. Hoke was all-in on Thomas and they have already tried him at nickel, corner, and both safety spots - so they have given him some opportunities to find a fit. He is another kid who has been through three springs now, so this fall camp is probably his last chance to stake his claim at UM.Delete
This kid along with Delano Hill are absolutely at the top of my list of kids I'd like to see somehow get their redshirt year back. Not to mention being right up there on my list of dumbass Hoke decisions.ReplyDelete
This was one I wanted back, at the time. Now.... I wonder if the CMU game blocked punt won't be his career highlight.Delete
Hill - yeah. He played special teams in only one game. Now he looks like a starter... bleh.
It's not always an easy decision. You don't see many highly regarded recruits (especially skill players) enroll early only to jump into a redshirt. If a freshman is physically talented, a lot of coaches will get them in the mix early under the assumption they will develop as the season goes along and become a solid contributor down the stretch. In the case of Thomas, I just don't think he has developed. He may not have it. If he does not have it, then Harbaugh won't want him back for a 5th year anyway.Delete
You don't get borderline 5 star skill players without promising them a chance to play as freshmen. That's just how recruiting works. If you read any of the pre-season interviews with Mattison or other coaches, they expected him to play a lot. He just didn't progress during the season.Delete
@ Anonymous 9:41 amDelete
You basically have to promise anyone a "chance" to play early, but you don't necessarily have to follow through with playing time. I think the kids who don't genuinely *earn* that early playing time eventually filter out anyway.
I think some kids are promised a lot more than "a chance".Delete
People like to think that coaches are all-powerful in these situations but in reality they are regularly begging 17 year olds to join their football program. Is keeping a guy on red-shirt and not giving him some unearned snaps early on going to keep you from landing an elite athlete who could help you for 2 or 3 years as a starter down the line? - it shouldn't.
For example, I would bet you we will see Shelton Johnson play very early in 2015, whether he earned it or not.Delete
Lank, it pains me to read your comments.Delete
"They are regularly begging 17 year olds."
"I would bet you we will see S. Johnson play very early in 2015 whether he earned it or not."
Anonymous dude/duddette, I mean you no harm.Delete
Thomas takes some of the worst angles I have seen...ReplyDelete
If they can coach him up to correct that, then he might see the field more
I can't tell if Clark is ahead of Thomas or not (more tackles but fewer starts for Thomas) but this seems like a fair and reasonable place for the 4th or 5th safety given limited depth at CB and heavy need for nickel packages. Thomas seems like a logical guy to use as a backup for Peppers' presumed nickel role but who knows what happens if Peppers is out or shuffled off to another position. I've heard Hill will be used there and also heard they'll use a more traditional smaller CB there too. Tough to get a clean read on how the DB depth chart shakes out with a new staff/scheme.ReplyDelete
Because of the presence of Peppers, Hill, and Clark it's hard to see the career arc of Jamar Adams being instructive here. Sure, never give up on a guy who has talent and playing experience when he's just entering his upperclass years. Certainly we'd judge him differently if he was entering his RS soph year. Yet it's clear that we haven't seen the light go on with Thomas yet and he seems to have played a bit by default rather than pushing aside other people.
On the bright side, he's an asset to special teams, clearly a good athlete, and provides experienced depth at a position where you need it.
One interesting thing about Thomas is that he should be lesson learned for having huge expectations for freshman. Mgoblog and others had anointed him a starter based on offseason rumblings but he never came close to that his freshman year. The hype for Peppers was similar but he also didn't start right away. Now Peppers is being talked up as the MVP of the team - a kid who has never started and barely played. That seems crazy to me, especially coming off the Thomas experience... The Peppers hype has more legitimacy to it I feel, and we have the injury to consider, but it seems too early to anoint him as one of our 5 best players.
As a high school recruit, Thomas was a highly regarded RB. Is there any chance of a position change at some point in the future? I realize that, at least in terms of numbers, we are pretty deep at RB, but Thomas would offer a type of speed option that we don't really have right now (except for maybe an injured Drake Johnson).ReplyDelete
Just like Furman, I wouldn't mind seeing him get a shot at running back if he's not heavily in the rotation this year. You might be able to find a role for him in the offensive backfield, or maybe even as a slot receiver. I think he and Brian Cole have pretty similar physical skills.Delete
For Cole's sake - lets hope he's not too similar. Thomas hasn't looked like a guy who is going to run by or around many people.Delete
I feel like Thomas' best shot at a starting spot would be if he bulked up and were able to play LB at 220 lbs next year. Don't know if he has the ability to do that or if the coaches would give him the time but he could be a great athletic LB.ReplyDelete
It would be asking a lot for him to put on 30 lbs. in one year. I'm not sure he could do it, and I'm not sure it would be worth it, anyway. He would probably be coming off the bench. At least as a defensive back, he might have a chance to replace Jarrod Wilson or slide in if the coaches move Jabrill Peppers to cornerback or something. Michigan's going to need a starting corner in 2016 to replace Wayne Lyons, and Jourdan Lewis has the potential to leave early.Delete
If Ty Isaac can do it, I think Thomas can too.Delete
[I don't know about you guys but I think I'm doing great work Isaac's weight gain into pretty much any Michigan football conversation.]
Furman weighed 202 pounds at the NFL draft combine. Thomas can add "good weight" and get to that ballpark, or even more within a year. The bigger question is if he will have the skill and instincts to execute as an LB. I think it's worth a shot.Delete
It's getting a little late for Thomas to make this move but we've seen it work before.
@ Lanknows 12:05 p.m.Delete
I know it was a joke, but Isaac gained 10 pounds in his first year (from 225 to 235) and is now up another 5 pounds by his third year (235 to 240). So in three years, he's put on 15 lbs.
Anytime you make a fat joke about Ty Isaac, I'm probably just going to post this link:Delete
That's Ty Isaac's Tweet saying that the last time he was 225 lbs. was going into his senior year.
If he really was already 225-230 at USC maybe he should try to lose some weight -- he was 5th string there.Delete
Yep. He was 5th string behind a senior Silas Redd (who averaged 4.7 yards/carry in the NFL this year), a guy who was team MVP and left early for the draft (Javorius Allen), the #81 overall player to Rivals in 2011 (Tre Madden), and the #98 overall player in the 247 Composite in 2013 (Justin Davis). All of those guys averaged over 5.0 yards/carry...Delete
...and yet Ty Isaac still averaged 5.9 yards/carry, which was second on the team behind Davis.
But hey, we've got De'Veon Smith and Wyatt Shallman, so let's persistently point out Ty Isaac's lack of playing time as a true freshman two years ago.
LOL at pointing to Redd's garbage time stats with the Redskins just to add to the small and inappropriate sample size pile. I'll contribute too:Delete
Mike Shaw ran for 6.4 ypc in 2011. Dennis Norfleet ran for 6.5 as a freshman. Couple of HOF backs right there. Soma Vainuku - a 255 pound fullback - ran for 9.8 ypc the same year Isaac ran for 5.9 (so add him to Davis and Isaac in the small sample size party at USC). I'm sure we can keep going...
"All of those guys averaged over 5.0 yards/carry" -- probably USC's OL has something to do with that fact, because so did their fullback. Isaac ran behind USC's OL, not Michigans, and did it mostly in non-competitive situations.
5.9 yards per carry in garbage situations has garbage relevancy. He got most of his yards against Cal in a game where Allen average 22 ypc.
Yes, USC has good backs. But lets not act as though a legitimate 5-star back can't get at least 3rd string there. Justin Davis was less heralded than Issac. You act like he's an amazing player but he was still 2nd string last year and his average dropped to 4.6 ypc once the sample got relevant.
If we're going to go the recruiting rank route we already have that 5-star guy - Derrick Green. Green has run behind crappy OLs but at least he earned meaningful snaps. He also hasn't gained 30 pounds since he was evaluated as a recruit and actually has a physical profile that projects to RB.
The point regarding Redd was to point out that Redd, you know, made it to the NFL and played. It's not like Ty Isaac was playing behind chopped liver.Delete
I think it's somewhat contradictory that you make an effort to lambaste Ty Isaac (who played behind several talented backs and still had success) and then prop up Wyatt Shallman (who has not played and has been behind less talented backs). You can't have it both ways.
LOL at changing the story on Ty Isaac. First it was that he got fat after he got to college. Now when there's proof that you're wrong, you feed us that "he gained 30 pounds since he was EVALUATED AS A RECRUIT" line. It seems to me that you're retracing your steps a little bit because your argument isn't really holding water.
Yeah yeah yeah...garbage time against Cal...just like Mike Cox...blah blah blah...Mike Cox is in the NFL, and the other guys aren't. Sometimes a small sample size isn't worth anything. Sometimes it is.
I don't know if you've ever been this negative about a Michigan player before. Your hatred toward Ty Isaac is unmatched since you started commenting on this site. I just don't know why. Even if he did get fat - which isn't the case - he wouldn't be the first player to get out of shape. Yet you didn't harbor the same kind of disdain for Will Campbell and others.
Is it time for a steel-cage death match between you two? ;-)Delete
I don't think Shallman is playing a meaningful role this year. Is that really elevating him? My point in comparing the two is to point out how ridiculous the hype for Isaac is.Delete
I also think it's ridiculous to keep asserting so strongly that Shallman is going to FB. Not saying he won't or can't -- but again -- the same goes for Isaac.
Isaac is too big to be an effective RB. Sure, given a dominant OL he can produce, but that goes for anyone and MIchigan doesn't have that anyway. I call that being fat, and maybe (probably) that's unfair.
My point about the weight gain is that it is bad. I don't really care if it happened over 2 and a half years or one and a half, it is bad. He has been frequently hurt at Michigan and there's a very good chance weight has played a part in that. The weight has to stop and it hasn't. It probably need to reverse in fact.
I called Derrick Green fat too -- because he was.
I don't hate Ty Isaac at all. I hate his hype. It's desperate, illogical, and reflects a grass-is-greener mentality that I find off-putting - especially coming of the Shane Morris fiasco.
The Shallman/Isaac stuff is based mostly on very dated recruiting hype. Because these guys haven't played people are clinging to this stuff. Nevermind the mountain of indirect evidence since then - all that matters is games and recruiting rankings.
I also hate poorly applied statistics. People love to say 'blah blah blah sample size' and that's well...dumb. Sample size matters and anyone can make all kinds of spurious conclusions based on bad data.
Could Isaac be a better back than Shallman -- Of course! But at this stage in their careers Shallman seems to be ahead of him.
If your point about Redd is that he played in the NFL, then say "he played in the NFL". Putting numbers to it implies you think that information has value. The garbage time stats are garbage.Delete
Sorry. I'll make sure to heed your rules about how to indicate that a player played in the NFL.Delete
Star ratings create unrealistic expectations. I get excited when I think about Dymonte, Peppers, and Jarrod Wilson flying around the field laying the wood.ReplyDelete
This is encouraging ... at #51 we're starting to get into the meat of the roster. 27 comments so far, and a lively discussion of the role and potential. I'm looking forward to the rest of the countdown.ReplyDelete
When you think about it, very few guys flipped from offense to defense or vice versa under the old regime. The only ones that come to mind are Douglas and Heitzman. And actually, aside from OG/OT shuffling, there weren't many position switchers period. You kind of were who you were.ReplyDelete
Thomas has been moved around in the secondary, but given his apparent coverage issues, his plus athleticism and the dearth of offensive playmakers, it sure seems like he should've gotten an extended look at RB at some point.
Don't know what it is about this program, but we have had more busts among highly touted recruits at safety than I can count. It has been ages since we had great safety play, and it's hurt us consistently.ReplyDelete
It's probably too late to salvage much from Thomas, but this is the kind of guy that we can't afford to whiff on any more if we're going to compete at a championship level. A 5 star recruit in his third year should be locked in as a starter and a good candidate for all-conference, if he's living up to expectations on the field. Thomas is only one example of that kind of guy who is still riding the bench at Michigan.
Amazing that these can't miss guys actually miss.Delete
Is it coaching or rankings just focus on the physical measurables?