Florida State was looking to have the worst defensive end group in the ACC heading into 2021. Quickly, Mike Norvell and his coaching staff have addressed that issue with multiple players who will be on campus immediately. The latest DE to choose to transfer to FSU is Keir Thomas from South Carolina.
The Seminole defense needed edge setters and pass rushers and Thomas brings a little of both to the table. Let's take a look at a few clips to see what Thomas brings to the table.
The defensive line for FSU was in desperate need of guys who can move around and create a mismatch. Thomas shows he can play on the edge as a big end or slide inside as a penetrating 3-tech. Creating winnable matchups is where the game is at and now you have a player at your disposal who can be that. Take a look at the following clip of Thomas where he dives outside (defeating the on-block of the guard) and is up the field for a tackle for loss. He can also do the same on the edge. This quickness inside against guards and the ability to anchor on the edge is valuable for a team like FSU. These are winning football plays that FSU has lacked.
Low man wins in football right? Well, the player who can play with control and positioning is how the saying should really go. Thomas plays with good leverage as a 6’2 prospect and it shows in plays like this. Thomas engages the guard and uses explosive hands to gain inside position. From there Thomas is in control and is able to work a pass rush move to defeat the guard. These are one on one wins that FSU has been lacking and need to protect the secondary.
Thomas' technique is spot on and that is one of the first things you are looking to bring in with a transfer. The tight elbows, footwork, and shed are just textbook and something Thomas is known for as a player.
You may not think of an edge setter during passing situations but it is equally important. On a three-man rush late in the game, you want to keep the quarterback in the pocket. Thomas keeps his outside arm free and bull rushes the tackle into the QB. The effort after to get off the block and get to the QB is great to see. Thomas plays with a lot of energy and toughness for an undersized DL. Some players also have a knack for making big plays at key moments of the game.
This clip is also good to see him on the edge and how he handles length from tackles.