Our next Impact Player makes his hay on defense, as well. Charlie Thomas is technically a linebacker for the Yellow Jackets, but he can do it all. He can rush the edge, drop into coverage, and also effectively fill B and C gaps. Last season, he posted game-high totals of 12 tackles against Clemson, 2.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss against North Carolina, and 2 interceptions against Kennesaw State. Yes, it was against Kennesaw State, but they only threw the ball 20 times that game. So for all you Math fans, Charlie Thomas intercepted 10% of all potential interceptable passes (English fans are going to tell me that’s not a word). And with Quez Jackson gone, Thomas will look to fill a leadership void at the second level in 2022.
Listed at 6’2”, 207 pounds, Thomas’ size, speed, and versatility make him one of the more difficult matchups for opposing offenses. We are likely to see some changes from a schematic standpoint with Travares Tillman (Pass Game Coordinator) and David Turner (Run Game Coordinator) joining the staff, but Thomas is extremely well-equipped to fill any gap that is needed. That being said, Thacker is still in charge, and there haven’t been any hints that the defense will stray from its regular base sets. So with that in mind, along with his athletic ability, Thomas’ experience with this defense will be much needed as a higher level of execution will be the expectation amongst Tech faithful.
Charlie Thomas is featured in back-to-back plays in the clip above. On the first play, we see his patience lead to a disruptive play in the backfield. He displays his outstanding athletic ability on the following play, as he tips the KSU pass to himself for the first of his two interceptions that day. I know the opponent matters, but he is clearly capable of greatness.
Three of the five leading tacklers in 2021 are no longer on the roster (Tariq Carpenter, Juanyeh Thomas, and the aforementioned Jackson). Luckily, Thomas was one of the other two, so an impactful 2022 season for the senior would mean leading the team in tackles (100+), leading the team in TFLs for the second straight year (12+), and finishing top 5 in sacks (8-10 sacks). Even if those things aren’t achieved, Thomas will certainly make an impact on The Flats this fall.