RECRUITING UPDATE: Dwayne Thomas
O.P. Walker CB hopes to be next great LSU defensive back
By CASEY GISCLAIR
Tiger Rag Recruiting Contributor
O. Perry Walker High School defensive back Dwayne Thomas said he loves to play physical, touting that it’s his goal to “get my hands on receivers and take them out of the play before it even starts.”
He said that despite that physicality, he also has the speed if a play goes vertical with a recorded 4.43 40-yard dash time.
Oh yeah, he loves playing special teams, too.
Does that sound familiar to you, LSU fans?
Time will tell if Thomas will ever pan out as well as “that other guy” did in the Tigers’ secondary, but LSU will have four years to try and make it work, as the defensive back gave his verbal pledge to Les Miles prior to the April 9 Spring Game, making him the team’s ninth commitment in the 2012 signing class.
“Every year it just seems like there’s one big DB coming out of LSU that gets picked high in the draft,” Thomas said. “So I looked at that and said that’s awesome, because coming out in my class, there’s a few top-level DBs, but for me to be able to get into a top school like LSU, it just gives me a great chance to possibly be one of those guys one day.”
Talk is cheap, but Thomas backs up his statements with his play on the field.
Standing 6-foot-1 and weighing 175 pounds, the O. Perry Walker defensive back has firmly cemented his position as one of Louisiana’s best prospects in 2012 and also one of the top defensive back prospects in America.
Thomas doubles as both a cornerback and a safety, but said he plays more like a safety at either position.
When asked to give a strength in his game, he gave a quick answer.
“I have quick hands,” explained Thomas. “I love to jam a lot. I really like playing against big receivers. I don’t know if there’s any way to prove this, but I say that I have the best hands in the country, because once I get my hands on you, that’s like a wrap. The play doesn’t go the way the receiver planned once I get my hands on them.”
Strength aside, the cornerback knows that no matter how strong he might be, some receivers will always break free and have the opportunities to make plays down the field. That’s when he turns on the jets and uses his breakaway speed.
The defensive back does play some wide receiver, too, and said that he’s always been able to get down the field freely - something he believes shows that he’s an all-around player on the other end of the field.
“I tell them all of the time when I’m in there, I’m running that 9-route and I’m going deep,” Thomas said with a laugh. “I can get up and down the field good, I’d say.”
The numbers also back up that statement, as the defensive back has recorded multiple sub-4.5 40-yard dash times.
So with 10 months until National Signing Day, Thomas took all of the air out of his recruiting process early, verbally committing to LSU.
He said that he did so because of his desire to play for a school that has great tradition and he wants to win a national championship during his four years in college.
“Oh man, the first thing would definitely have to be the tradition,” Thomas said. “You know, Coach Saban bringing that championship back to Baton Rouge and then Coach Miles becoming the new head coach and keeping the ball rolling. They just have a great program over there and everything about it is just awesome.”
Don’t worry about grades, either. With a 25 on his ACT and an Honor Roll grade point average, Thomas is already academically eligible to become a Tiger.
“Grades are one thing that’s big to me,” Thomas continued. “That was something important to me was finding a school that felt the same way and they have one of the best programs for what I’m looking at with sports management.”
As for how firm he is to his commitment? Thomas said don’t ever say never, but he said he can’t see himself being anywhere else.
“When I committed, I shook Coach Miles’ hand and told him I was coming to school there,” Thomas said. “Now if me and my family look and see something different than what we see now down the line, then something might open up again, but as of now, I don’t see any way that can happen. I plan to stay true to my handshake.”