In football training, Thomas was just as likely to imitate drumming with his hands as it was to use it to move an opposing defensive lineman.
Slade, a linebacker to Virginia who played in the NFL for nine years, finally spoke up and shook the boy.
“Chris Slade told me I had a chance to write my own football ticket,” said Thomas. “And I loved the game, but music was still very important to me.”
Thomas decided it was best to let football hit the ticket. He continued with the group but paid less attention to it and became a five-star rookie, joining the Georgia Bulldogs. As with music, play came easily to him. He was the rare offensive lineman to have started in the Southeast Conference on the first day and emerged as an All-American first team in his junior season.
In the midst of all this growth on the field, Thomas abandoned the drums – it would not be possible to play football and be part of the group on Saturday Saturdays – but he took the piano.
NFL.comThomas’s analysis describes him as having “meat hooks for the hands”, but that did not prevent his rise to ivory.
“If I were to rate myself 1 to 10 right now, I would say I am around a 5,” said Thomas. “I’m still working on it, but it’s something I really enjoy.”
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Thomas discussed his piano skills with teams in interviews.
“Whenever I say they are interested,” he said. “So I think it’s a good thing outside of football that I do.”
Perhaps his ability to learn an instrument as delicate as the piano indicates a desire to be detailed on his trade as an offensive lineman.
For Thomas, the physical gifts are all there, but “occasional leaning, inconsistent lungs and knees in pass protection could be isolated and attacked by wolves eager to pass for feast if he does not clean these areas ” NFL.com written.
Thomas has shown Georgia that it can quickly move smoothly to a new level.
“Technique is very important,” said Thomas. “A little hiccup in your set or with your hands against these very talented rushers will make all the difference. Playing against these guys, you have to be a technician. Every down, every game, you have to change it. It’s almost like a chess match. “