Tennessee continues its hot streak, reeling in the third commitment in the span of just under two weeks as longtime priority safety target Jourdan Thomas gave the Vols his word on Sunday. The Montgomery, Ala. native becomes the 16th pledge for the UT in the class and the sixth defensive commit for Tim Banks.
The three-star was a longtime Mississippi State commit, but that changed earlier this week when Thomas told Volquest he needed to reevaluate his options. Tennessee stayed in this race from the beginning and closed the deal this past weekend with an official visit.
The Vols won out over the Bulldogs and Auburn as Thomas expects to sign in a few weeks and become a January enrollee. The Montgomery Catholic standout stands in at 6-foot-1, weighing 190 pounds.
Here’s a detailed look at what a Jourdan Thomas commitment means for Tennessee.
“He’s an exceptional young man. He’s a good kid. Does all the things right and is where he is supposed to be. He keeps his grades up and will knows how to be respectful on your campus. As far as football, he is a physical young man. He’s just now starting to scratch the surface on how good he can be.
He’s a quarterback turned DB and it’s worked out in his benefit. Being a former quarterback, it shows he has the mental capacity to hold a lot of stuff. We run a scheme-based defense that requires a lot of checks. A lot of those checks come from the safety. He has done a good job of growing and maturing in that role over the years.
I think the weight room and meal plan will treat is body real good when he gets there.”
— Kirk Johnson, Montgomery Catholic head coach
HOW THOMAS FITS IN WITH THE VOLS
The thing that jumps off the tape for Thomas is the physicality he plays the game with. When playing over the top, the safety comes down hill in a hurry – seeking out contact – to aid in the run game. He blitzes well off the edge when asked and gets after the passer. He brings a load when making a hit and tackles well.
He’s got speed to close space in a hurry. Thomas changes directions well with a good plant-foot and burst. The new Volunteer commit displays a great base in the backpedal and has quick feet. The film shows he runs well in man coverage and also reads routes well when playing zone. He’s easily the best player on the field at the prep level.
Thomas is also an athlete who plays special teams in high school. On kickoff, the safety flies down the field and takes on blockers well. He’s willing to sacrifice his body to make the play. Effort is never in question. In 2022, Thomas could play special teams right away and add much needed depth to the safety position.
WHAT DOES A JOURDAN THOMAS COMMITMENT MEAN FOR TENESSEE?
The three-star joins cornerback Christian Harrison as Tennessee commits in the defensive backfield, though Thomas is a safety. It brings the total number of 2022 commits up to 16 with six on the defensive side.
Depending on what Trevon Flowers elects to do regarding next season, Thomas could come in and contend right away for a spot in the two-deep. Jaylen McCollough, Christian Charles and Tamarian McDonald return as safeties on the roster. STAR player Theo Jackson, a safety by trait, has exhausted his eligibility, but Doneiko Slaughter can play safety as well.
Gaining the commit of Thomas fills another need in the class, but the Vols are likely to still bring in a couple of more. Of the targets remaining, keep an eye on JUCO prospects Marquise Gilbert, Keionte Scott and Desmond Williams. Michigan commit Kody Jones, Boston College commit Amari Jackson and Jeremiah Caldwell are also on the board as well.
With less than two weeks remaining before Signing Day, expect things to be fluid.