Here’s a good article on former Top 250 4 star DE/DT (ranked 179th) Deonte Thomas from Oklahoma....

huskerssalts

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Where things left off with Deontre Thomas

No name tag needed here. Deontre Thomas has been part of this conversation on the Husker D-line since the fall camp of 2017.

You may prefer to not revisit that season at all, but it's worth reminding Thomas was thrown into the fire almost immediately after his arrival. It was both a credit to Thomas and a nod to Nebraska's lack of D-line bodies at the time. He was out there playing as an undersized nose tackle as a true freshman. And we're not just talking about taking up snaps in November because injuries forced the issue. He had three tackles in each of his first three games that season. He was out there in the fourth quarter of a one-score game at Oregon in the second week of his college career.

You know what? He wasn't too shabby all things considered.

He was 265 pounds that year playing one of the toughest spots on the football field. "I think I was handling my own ... but you can’t be that small," he said last spring, looking back at how it all started for him as a Husker.

Since then, it has been about making steady growth in his size and strength, while switching to an end spot that better fits him. And patience. Better have that. Because after getting up to 280 pounds, Thomas injured his hand four games into 2018. He got back to practicing that season with a cast, but it was prudently decided to just use the redshirt on him after most of the season got away.

It might have been a break, allowing Thomas to get the year of eligibility back he had sort of lost by plugging a hole while out of position his first year in Lincoln. And, as the camp of 2019 began, Thomas was doing enough good things that made his new D-line coach Tony Tuioti say, “He’s very light on his feet, he’s very explosive, he’s got built-in leverage. He’s hard to block. He’s got some Aaron Donald-type built-in leverage and he uses that to his advantage. He’s got very powerful. Strong hands, too.”

Don't get too lost in the Aaron Donald name popping up there, since he's one of the best at his craft in the world. It felt more like a position coach saying Thomas had a beginner's set of those tools you need. Thomas climbed in the spring of 2019 to get himself at least in the mix with the Davis twins, Darrion and Damion Daniels, and Ben Stille.

“I felt like the top five guys were at a different tier and I think Deontre has really worked himself to make sure he’s in that tier,” Tuioti said then. By that point, Thomas was pushing toward 300 pounds, benching 450 and squatting 650.

The breakout season didn't come yet. He finished with 19 tackles with the Davis twins and Darrion Daniels and Stille getting the lion's share of reps. But Thomas did have five tackles against Northern Illinois, and when thrown into a bigger role against Wisconsin, he had four stops and a TFL.

Now the Davis twins are gone, and so is big Darrion. When considering Thomas as someone who might move into more snaps, it's worth mention that someone like Khalil Davis didn't burst into a more prominent place on the team until he was a fourth-year junior. It works like that in the trenches not only sometimes, but plenty of times.

"I told the guys the other day, 'This is a chance for us to see who can step up.' These guys have been waiting for their opportunity ... and now their opportunity is there," Tuioti said in March.

Furthermore, Tuioti said then he felt good about what he has in Ty Robinson, Thomas, Stille, Damion Daniels, Jordon Riley and Casey Rogers heading into the spring. He also pointed out something important for someone like Thomas: He actually has the same position coach for back-to-back years now. His first three years, it was a different guy in charge of the room every season.

Different names will eat up the snaps than a year before, but that doesn't mean defensive coordinator Erik Chinander or Tuioti moved into 2020 thinking that position group is going to take a step back.

"Aah, I don't know," Chinander said at the start of spring. "I don't know about the drop off. I know we've got kids that we really like that we recruited, that have done a great job since they've been here. Could there be a drop off? Sure. Could there be improvement? Sure. Could it be the same? Sure. But I like the group we've got and I'm very encouraged by watching them so far."

In the case of Deontre Thomas, we already know him, but what he'll be battling for when football returns is to make his fourth season at Nebraska the first season we really get to see him.

"I think for our young guys it's kind of like the perfect storm," said Tuioti, "where we do miss a lot of guys (from 2019), but they know they want to have a chance to represent the University of Nebraska the right way."
 
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HominidHusker

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I’m happy Thomas has stuck it out since his measurables sometimes point to being a 4-3 guy.

It’d be great to see him thrive this year.

I remember seeing the Tuioti quote about the 6 guys he likes and left thinking “Milk carton alert for Tate Wildeman and Chris Walker.”. I know there’s been injuries, but neither ever gets mentioned.
 
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DerHusker

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Where things left off with Deontre Thomas
ByBRIAN CHRISTOPHERSON

No name tag needed here. Deontre Thomas has been part of this conversation on the Husker D-line since the fall camp of 2017.

You may prefer to not revisit that season at all, but it's worth reminding Thomas was thrown into the fire almost immediately after his arrival. It was both a credit to Thomas and a nod to Nebraska's lack of D-line bodies at the time. He was out there playing as an undersized nose tackle as a true freshman. And we're not just talking about taking up snaps in November because injuries forced the issue. He had three tackles in each of his first three games that season. He was out there in the fourth quarter of a one-score game at Oregon in the second week of his college career.

You know what? He wasn't too shabby all things considered.

He was 265 pounds that year playing one of the toughest spots on the football field. "I think I was handling my own ... but you can’t be that small," he said last spring, looking back at how it all started for him as a Husker.

Since then, it has been about making steady growth in his size and strength, while switching to an end spot that better fits him. And patience. Better have that. Because after getting up to 280 pounds, Thomas injured his hand four games into 2018. He got back to practicing that season with a cast, but it was prudently decided to just use the redshirt on him after most of the season got away.

It might have been a break, allowing Thomas to get the year of eligibility back he had sort of lost by plugging a hole while out of position his first year in Lincoln. And, as the camp of 2019 began, Thomas was doing enough good things that made his new D-line coach Tony Tuioti say, “He’s very light on his feet, he’s very explosive, he’s got built-in leverage. He’s hard to block. He’s got some Aaron Donald-type built-in leverage and he uses that to his advantage. He’s got very powerful. Strong hands, too.”

Don't get too lost in the Aaron Donald name popping up there, since he's one of the best at his craft in the world. It felt more like a position coach saying Thomas had a beginner's set of those tools you need. Thomas climbed in the spring of 2019 to get himself at least in the mix with the Davis twins, Darrion and Damion Daniels, and Ben Stille.

“I felt like the top five guys were at a different tier and I think Deontre has really worked himself to make sure he’s in that tier,” Tuioti said then. By that point, Thomas was pushing toward 300 pounds, benching 450 and squatting 650.

The breakout season didn't come yet. He finished with 19 tackles with the Davis twins and Darrion Daniels and Stille getting the lion's share of reps. But Thomas did have five tackles against Northern Illinois, and when thrown into a bigger role against Wisconsin, he had four stops and a TFL.

Now the Davis twins are gone, and so is big Darrion. When considering Thomas as someone who might move into more snaps, it's worth mention that someone like Khalil Davis didn't burst into a more prominent place on the team until he was a fourth-year junior. It works like that in the trenches not only sometimes, but plenty of times.

"I told the guys the other day, 'This is a chance for us to see who can step up.' These guys have been waiting for their opportunity ... and now their opportunity is there," Tuioti said in March.

Furthermore, Tuioti said then he felt good about what he has in Ty Robinson, Thomas, Stille, Damion Daniels, Jordon Riley and Casey Rogers heading into the spring. He also pointed out something important for someone like Thomas: He actually has the same position coach for back-to-back years now. His first three years, it was a different guy in charge of the room every season.

Different names will eat up the snaps than a year before, but that doesn't mean defensive coordinator Erik Chinander or Tuioti moved into 2020 thinking that position group is going to take a step back.

"Aah, I don't know," Chinander said at the start of spring. "I don't know about the drop off. I know we've got kids that we really like that we recruited, that have done a great job since they've been here. Could there be a drop off? Sure. Could there be improvement? Sure. Could it be the same? Sure. But I like the group we've got and I'm very encouraged by watching them so far."

In the case of Deontre Thomas, we already know him, but what he'll be battling for when football returns is to make his fourth season at Nebraska the first season we really get to see him.

"I think for our young guys it's kind of like the perfect storm," said Tuioti, "where we do miss a lot of guys (from 2019), but they know they want to have a chance to represent the University of Nebraska the right way."
Where's Kreem Green on that list?
 

huskerssalts

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Where's Kreem Green on that list?
I wonder if he was just forgotten in this article or the coach just forgot to mention Green. I hear his name being mentioned a lot when our Dline is mentioned or being talked about. Our main dlinemen for this 2020 season is Ben Stille, Deonte Thomas, Damion Daniels, Ty Robinson, Keem Green, Jordan Riley and few others. Normally those 6 are constantly mentioned.

We will miss the Davis twins and Darrion Daniels but we aren’t without talent. We have a legit 6 to 7 players that could fill the role and we won’t miss a beat. I’m calling it now, Ty Robinson will be an absolute monster. He’s almost impossible to block one on one.
 
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headcard

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I’m happy Thomas has stuck it out since his measurables sometimes point to being a 4-3 guy.

It’d be great to see him thrive this year.

I remember seeing the Tuioti quote about the 6 guys he likes and left thinking “Milk carton alert for Tate Wildeman and Chris Walker.”. I know there’s been injuries, but neither ever gets mentioned.
Green is missing too, but I’m sure he will have every opportunity to earn PT. I really hope Danniels, Riley and Green can be productive at NT, so Robinson can stay at DE.
 

huskerssalts

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Green is missing too, but I’m sure he will have every opportunity to earn PT. I really hope Danniels, Riley and Green can be productive at NT, so Robinson can stay at DE.
I really hope Tate Wildeman gets things going. He was a 4 star DE on Rivals, 24/7 and ESPN. Dude was a legit talent coming out of high school and injuries slowed his player development down. Not to mention having 4 different Dline coaches, that doesn’t help a bit. Hopefully this season he starts to break out. Fingers crossed for him.

People forget our Dline has had so many different Dline coaches come in and they have relearn schemes and techniques over and over again. Not to mention 3 different D Coordinators. All this over the last 4-5 years. With all that considered, I get why our Dline progress has been slowed down.
 
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headcard

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I really hope Tate Wildeman gets things going. He was a 4 star DE on Rivals, 24/7 and ESPN. Dude was a legit talent coming out of high school and injuries slowed his player development down. Not to mention having 4 different Dline coaches, that doesn’t help a bit. Hopefully this season he starts to break out. Fingers crossed for him.

People forget our Dline has had so many different coaches come in and they have relearn schemes and techniques over and over again. Not to mention 3 different D Coordinators. All this over the last 4-5 years. With all that considered, I get why our Dline progress has been slowed down.
I am afraid Wildman might be that tweener, that just isn’t big enough to be a 3-4 DE (kind of like Stille). On the flip side, Rodgers is a guy with a ton of potential people tend to forget about. Probably because he wasn’t a big recruit like Wildman, Robinson or Green.
 

jflores

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Wildeman we had some sort of expectations for. Chris Walker was a kid who was a project essentially. But he was a Nebraska kid right, one of the first Frost brought in? He might be the new Kreikameier for the board.
 
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Wildeman we had some sort of expectations for. Chris Walker was a kid who was a project essentially. But he was a Nebraska kid right, one of the first Frost brought in? He might be the new Kreikameier for the board.
He was brought in by Riley. Part of the infamous 2017 class that included...

0 "star players"
1 multi-year starter
4 players in the 2 deep as redshirt jr.'s (1-2 possible starters here)
and 15 players who are either gone or won't see significant time.

Damion Daniels - 2 deep
Elijah Blades - nonqualifier
Kurt Rafdal - 3rd string
Chris Walker - not in rotation
Tyjon Lindsey - transferred
Jaylin Bradley - transferred
Andrew Ward - transferred
Deiontae Watts - nonqualifier
Guy Thomas - transferred
Ben Miles - transferred
Broc Bando - 2 deep
Matt Sichterman - 3rd string
Deontre Thomas - 2 deep
Avery Roberts - transferred
Brenden Jaimes - Starter
Austin Allen - 2 deep
Tristan Gebbia - transferred
Keyshawn Johnson Jr. - transferred
Jaevon McQuitty - transferrred
Willie Hampton - transferred
 
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jflores

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He was brought in by Riley. Part of the infamous 2017 class that included...

0 "star players"
1 multi-year starter
4 players in the 2 deep as redshirt jr.'s (1-2 possible starters here)
and 15 players who are either gone or won't see significant time.

Damion Daniels - 2 deep
Elijah Blades - nonqualifier
Kurt Rafdal - 3rd string
Chris Walker - not in rotation
Tyjon Lindsey - transferred
Jaylin Bradley - transferred
Andrew Ward - transferred
Deiontae Watts - nonqualifier
Guy Thomas - transferred
Ben Miles - transferred
Broc Bando - 2 deep
Matt Sichterman - 3rd string
Deontre Thomas - 2 deep
Avery Roberts - transferred
Brenden Jaimes - Starter
Austin Allen - 2 deep
Tristan Gebbia - transferred
Keyshawn Johnson Jr. - transferred
Jaevon McQuitty - transferrred
Willie Hampton - transferred
Ahh yes, thank you. Couldn't quite remember.
 

headcard

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He was brought in by Riley. Part of the infamous 2017 class that included...

0 "star players"
1 multi-year starter
4 players in the 2 deep as redshirt jr.'s (1-2 possible starters here)
and 15 players who are either gone or won't see significant time.

Damion Daniels - 2 deep
Elijah Blades - nonqualifier
Kurt Rafdal - 3rd string
Chris Walker - not in rotation
Tyjon Lindsey - transferred
Jaylin Bradley - transferred
Andrew Ward - transferred
Deiontae Watts - nonqualifier
Guy Thomas - transferred
Ben Miles - transferred
Broc Bando - 2 deep
Matt Sichterman - 3rd string
Deontre Thomas - 2 deep
Avery Roberts - transferred
Brenden Jaimes - Starter
Austin Allen - 2 deep
Tristan Gebbia - transferred
Keyshawn Johnson Jr. - transferred
Jaevon McQuitty - transferrred
Willie Hampton - transferred
 

HominidHusker

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He was brought in by Riley. Part of the infamous 2017 class that included...

0 "star players"
1 multi-year starter
4 players in the 2 deep as redshirt jr.'s (1-2 possible starters here)
and 15 players who are either gone or won't see significant time.

Damion Daniels - 2 deep
Elijah Blades - nonqualifier
Kurt Rafdal - 3rd string
Chris Walker - not in rotation
Tyjon Lindsey - transferred
Jaylin Bradley - transferred
Andrew Ward - transferred
Deiontae Watts - nonqualifier
Guy Thomas - transferred
Ben Miles - transferred
Broc Bando - 2 deep
Matt Sichterman - 3rd string
Deontre Thomas - 2 deep
Avery Roberts - transferred
Brenden Jaimes - Starter
Austin Allen - 2 deep
Tristan Gebbia - transferred
Keyshawn Johnson Jr. - transferred
Jaevon McQuitty - transferrred
Willie Hampton - transferred
Man that’s a sad list and also explains the struggle we’ve been in just to develop a decent roster.
 

HominidHusker

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Green is missing too, but I’m sure he will have every opportunity to earn PT. I really hope Danniels, Riley and Green can be productive at NT, so Robinson can stay at DE.
Yeah, I missed Green, but he’s at least been talked about by coaches, whereas Wildeman and Walker I’ve never heard a peep about- other than Walker leading in weight room as co-student trainer w/ Damian Jackson.

The good news about Green is report he’s gotten trimmed down and should be in better playing shape. We’ll see what he can do. If we end up with 7-8 guys who can compete and play up front, this D could surprise us. The competition part being key.
 

huskerfan1414

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Wildeman we had some sort of expectations for. Chris Walker was a kid who was a project essentially. But he was a Nebraska kid right, one of the first Frost brought in? He might be the new Kreikameier for the board.
I thought he shoulda been OLine.
 

HominidHusker

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I thought he shoulda been OLine.
Walker? Yeah me too- he seems better suited for it and for a bit we were hyper thin on OT bodies. He was adamant about switching to D, so they let him, but so far it hasn’t panned out. Kid has a great frame, and seemed pretty agile coming out of high school, but my guess is the speed and explosiveness are lacking to excel at DE.
 
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leodisflowers

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Walker? Yeah me too- he seems better suited for it and for a bit we were hyper thin on OT bodies. He was adamant about switching to D, so they let him, but so far it hasn’t panned out. Kid has a great frame, and seemed pretty agile coming out of high school, but my guess is the speed and explosiveness are lacking to excel at DE.
Dude is huge as well. He'd be smart to make the transition, but oh well I guess.
 

huskerssalts

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Bumping this post from page 17....Ty Robinson and D Thomas are my picks for break out players on defense. Maybe even Nick Henrichs and/or Noa Pola-Gates. But I’m going with those two dlinemen and then NH and/or NPG....GBR
 
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Cornicator

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Bumping this post from page 17....Ty Robinson and D Thomas are my picks for break out players on defense. Maybe even Nick Henrichs and/or Noa Pola-Gates. But I’m going with those two dlinemen and then NH and/or NPG....GBR
Thomas won't be a starter. Hard to be a breakout player as a reserve.
 
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Thomas won't be a starter. Hard to be a breakout player as a reserve.
Who's going to start over him? Stille will start but I wouldn't be surprised to see Thomas start opposite of him. He doesn't have the length Chins wants but he seems to make plays. Everyone is high on Robinson, as am I, but experience often wins. Either way, barring injury, he'll play a lot.
 
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huskerssalts

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Thomas won't be a starter. Hard to be a breakout player as a reserve.
this one I disagree with. I think Thomas will start. It’s either him or Ty Robinson with me.

Ben Stille DE, Damion Daniels NG D. Thomas DE.

Or

B Stille DE, D Daniels NG, T Robinson DE

But honestly there could be a number of lineups we could see. Even Ty Robinson, Keem Green and a few others could pop up this year. But the lineups I listed above is very realistic. Hell, these lineups are even realistic....

B Stille DE, Ty Robinson NG, D Thomas DE

or

T Robinson DE, K Green NG, D Thomas DE

Or

B Stille DE, D Daniels NG, K Green DE

there are a few possibilities this year. We have some talent on the Dline and any one of those lineups could happen. Hell, we could add J Riley into anyone of those lineups at NG. We have some talent this year....good luck to Coach T figuring out our best 3. Great problem to have.
 
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