Every time Tennessee gets a commitment in either football or men’s basketball, we will write up an impact report looking at what that recruit does well, what we feel he needs to improve in his game, and what his projected impact with the Vols could be over the next few years.
Latest Commit: Omari Thomas, DT
Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 300 pounds
School: Briarcrest Christian (Tennessee)
Home Town: Memphis, TN
247Sports Composite: No. 104 overall, No. 8 DT
247Sports: No. 116 overall, No. 8 DT
Rivals: 5.9 rating, No. 142 overall, No. 11 DT
Notable Offers: Auburn, Texas A&M, Alabama
What we like:
Not only is Omari Thomas a huge specimen of a lineman, but what really impresses me most about him is his footwork and speed. A man with the type of size and girth Thomas has shouldn’t be able to move as quickly as he does, but he covers a lot of ground very quickly, and it usually spells trouble for opposing running backs and quarterbacks. He’s a 300 pound lineman who plays off the edge as a defensive end quite a lot, and he’s very successful there. Thomas is extremely physical on both sides of the ball, and he has some violent hand placement on both sides, too.
That’s another positive for Thomas: his versatility. If, for whatever reason, Thomas doesn’t work out as a defensive lineman, he’s proven to be a more than capable offensive lineman for Briarcrest, too. In fact, some think his higher ceiling could be on the offensive side of the ball. Regardless, Thomas is a major disruptive force on defense and a stout blocker on offense.
Places to improve:
Whatever side of the ball Thomas ends up on, he’ll need to knock off some pounds and get some good weight on his body. Not all of his weight is bad, but there’s definitely some pounds that can and need to be converted to muscle right now. A couple years in Tennessee’s strength and conditioning program will help with that, though. Technique wise, Thomas needs to fine-tune some things. He’s usually the bigger, faster, stronger lineman in high school, but that won’t be the case in the SEC. He has to learn to have smarter hand placement to get the most out of his strong push. Overall, though, there’s not a lot to knock about his game on either side of the ball.
Thomas was named the Mr. Football award winner in his division for a reason. He’s an exceptional athlete who has the potential to excel on either side of the ball in college. I would assume Thomas will get a shot at defensive line first, but it’s possible he gets moved to the offensive line at some point, too. Regardless, I think he’s a player who has a role as a freshman but won’t make his bigger impact until his second year on campus. Tennessee has a good veteran group of defensive linemen, and the Vols are bringing in four projected offensive linemen in the 2020 class, too. I don’t expect Thomas to redshirt really, but I do expect his second and third years on campus to be much more impactful than 2020.