As we head into the second half of our countdown, the numbers are dropping and the anxiety is rising within this nation waiting for football season. The biggest part of the success of the Yellow Jackets, Justin Thomas, is the topic of today's discussion. Thomas is going to leave some big shoes to fill when his time as a Jacket is over.
Thomas is a RS Junior who hails from Prattville, AL and was an Alabama commit at one point (had to know I would bring it back to recruiting right?). He was also the state 100 meter dash champion in track as a senior in high school.
During the 2014 season, Thomas was special. His accuracy as a passer continued to improve as each game went on. Thomas ended up throwing for 1,719 yards and 18 touchdowns. According to this article on Caifornia Golden Blogs, Thomas actually had the second highest PER in the entire ACC, even better than number one overall pick Jameis Winston. His best game throwing the ball other then the first game of the season against Wofford was actually in a loss against North Carolina in week 8. He threw for 235 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.
While he was improving as a passer each game, it is still clear that the focal point of his game, as well as the offense as a whole, is the run game. He rushed 190 times for 1,086 yards and 8 touchdowns on the season. His "coming out party" happened to be in the Orange Bowl in January against Mississippi State. Thomas rushed for 3 touchdowns and over 120 yards on just 14 attempts. As a result, the team completed its wins over two SEC teams to finish the season.
2015 and Beyond
When the team needs a big play, Thomas was the guy they could count on. A true dual-threat quarterback in this type of offense is really hard to come by, especially one with the type of arm strength that Thomas possesses. Thomas enters what could possibly be his final season on The Flats with high expectations, and a defense that returns several starters and impact players.
This season could prove to be the best in the Paul Johnson era, and it begins with the ability of the first ever sophomore captain of a CPJ-led team: Justin Thomas. His legs should remain the same, or could have even gotten quicker throughout the off-season, but what needs to continue to improve is his accuracy as a passer.
If Thomas is able to continue to grow as a passer and decision maker on the Option, then look out ACC, you've got a new favorite to win not only the Coastal, but the whole darn thing.
Warning: Music is played during these highlights. listen at your own risk. #TogetherWeSwarm