Three-star JUCO defensive end Jhaustin Thomas bolstered South Carolina's defensive line for 2014 when he signed his National Letter of Intent Wednesday. At 6'6 255-pounds, Thomas is physically ready to step in and contribute for the Gamecocks beginning this fall.
Known as "Doobie" back in in his hometown of Decatur, Ga. Thomas has spent the last two years at Trinity Valley C.C. in Athens, TX working on his academics and preparing for Division I football. He is a dominant presence coming off the edge of the line and will help ease the losses of both All-American Jadeveon Clowney and Chaz Sutton. Thomas is a long-armed, powerful prospect with the ability to rush the passer and stop the opponents' rushing attack. His long wingspan will also be useful in defending passes on the line of scrimmage while creating leverage against offensive lineman. At 255-pounds Thomas is also ready to face the physical rigors the SEC will present, particularly in the trenches. This is extremely important considering many of the Gamecocks current defensive ends are smaller, finesse pass rushers.
Named a JUCO 1st Team All-American in 2013, Thomas was initially thought to be able to graduate in December of 2013. When that didn't come to fruition, the three-star prospect shifted his focus to the classroom for this spring semester. While he works diligently to qualify beginning this fall, it should be noted that he still has tremendous upside as a player.
Once he gets to Columbia and learns the defensive playbook, he has the potential to be a very good edge rusher and run stopper for Lorenzo Ward's defense. Should he qualify, defensive line coach Deke Adams will look to prepare Thomas to play on the Thursday night opener against the Texas A&M Aggies at Williams Brice Stadium.
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