Jeff Thomas’s career got off to a nice start for Miami last season. The East Saint Louis, Ill., product made 17 catches for 374 yards and 2 touchdowns as a freshman, but also was a key part of the kick return team.
Fast forward to 2018, and with Braxton Berrios graduated, the door is open for Thomas to step into the spotlight. He’s one of a handful of offensive players that could enjoy breakout years for the Hurricanes this fall.
His coaches have been impressed with him all throughout the offseason. And it’s not just due to his work on the practice field, either.
“I got faster. I’m feeling more comfortable than last year since I’m used to game speed and the strong guys,” Thomas said on Wednesday, according to the Palm Beach Post’s Matt Porter. “I’m stronger, so I can get more physical with them.”
Thomas was listed at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds during the 2017 season. The added muscle, along with his speed, will make him an attractive target for whoever coach Mark Richt and the staff select as the starting quarterback.
“In the scrimmage (on Monday), I think he had three catches, three explosive plays, two touchdowns,” said Hurricanes receivers coach Ron Dugans. “The kid has been really electric for us.”
According to Porter, the staff plans to utilize Thomas in a few different ways.
As a receiver, he’ll be used in the slot and along the sidelines. Putting him out wide will force opposing cornerbacks to play him tight to neutralize his speed. He will also contribute to the return game as he did last year, but for both kickoffs and punts.