After narrowing his choices to the Texas Longhorns and the Texas A&M Aggies in April, weak-side defensive end Jordon Thomas committed to the Horns on Saturday, becoming the first defensive lineman in the 2021 class.
The Longhorns won the in-state battle for the highly-coveted defender, in spite of his four trips to College Station for unofficial visits and camps. Even with all of the time he spend in College Station, the commitment to Texas was expected — the Longhorns held two early Crystal Balls for Thomas, with three more coming in in the hours before his commitment.
The 6’3, 240-pound defender missed his junior season due to a leg injury, but managed to perform well enough his sophomore year and at camps to earn his consensus four-star rating. Thomas is the No. 36 player in the state of Texas, the No. 235 player overall, giving Texas six commitments from the top 50 players in the state. He is the second defensive commit in the class and the first defensive lineman in the group, joining outside linebacker Derrick Harris, Jr. in the fold.
Thomas is the second player in the last week to join the #trUTh21 class after tight end Landen King broke the eight-month drought with his pledge to Texas. With his commitment, the class now boasts five players from the top 250 players in the country.
Daniel Seahorn: Thomas is a bit of an interesting study due to the fact he missed his junior season due to a lower leg injury. His evaluation requires more projecting than usual due to the long layoff, and it makes his senior season particularly important when it comes to piecing together a through evaluation of him as a player.
At 6’3, 240 pounds, Thomas possesses good size with the frame that will continue to allow him pack on good weight as he continues to develop. It has been kicked around that Thomas could kick inside to defensive tackle at the collegiate level and I could see that as a possibility if his body really takes to the S&C program.
Thomas possesses a solid get off at the snap and flashes the ability to beat offensive tackles over the top, but he will need to improve on being more consistent in this aspect of his game. Thomas possesses good power in his hands, and he has the ability to put offensive linemen on their heels with a good bull rush. Thomas’ power shows up against the run as well as he shows the ability to hold up at the POA and shows he can win his fair share of one on one battles when asked to. Thomas shows the ability to establish a new LOS, as he has proven he is capable of pressing tackles and tight ends into the backfield.
Thomas gives good effort when it comes to pursuing ball carriers and shows the ability to chase down plays from the backside, but he will need to improve as a tackler, as he tends to not bring his feet consistently when it comes to corralling guys. Thomas is raw technically on tape, as he must continue to be more consistent when it comes with the ability win with his hands, as well as becoming more diversified with his pass rushing repertoire.
The ability and athleticism are there, but at this point Thomas is a bit of a wild stallion and just needs to become more refined from a technical standpoint. I will be keeping eyes on Thomas to see how he rebounds from the injury that derailed his junior season, as it will tell us a good bit of where he is at from a development standpoint before he hits campus.