Shemarko Thomas: 5'9" 213 lbs
4.42 40 yrd dash
28 reps Bench (4 short of the record for safeties)
Shamarko Thomas is a tank posing as a human. This player doesn't stop until he has the defender on the grass. His tenacity when recognizing run reminds me of that mean old pit bull in the neighborhood that would run at you barking and ready to bite if you came in the yard. Very tough player that doesn't mind mixing it up at the line of scrimmage and laying the wood to the ball carrier. He is a true SS and trust me, you want that tenacity around the LOS in run support. Has very good fast twitch muscle movement which allows him to read and react at a moment's notice. The amount of time it takes this player to get from point A to the point of attack is outstanding. Very mature and good person and is an upstanding teammate. Parents died early and assumed the role of taking care of his 6 siblings in their absence. Anyone with one child can tell you how tough it can be sometimes to raise them but to raise 6 when you are having to raise yourself as well is... well you get the point. Will be a fantastic run stopper in the right system that allows his talents to shine through. Will shine early on in redzone and short yardage situations. Those same quick-twitch muscles will allow him to blitz the QB and get there in no time flat. Very solidly built and extremely durable, which is amazing considering how physical he is and his style of play. Can come from across the field and lay a bruising hit in the open field. This kid is a 100 mph heat-seeking missile. Very good special teams player. Played all facets of special teams: punt team, PR, kick off , KR, and field goal unit as well as defense.
The negatives: With all I said about his run defense, his pass defense leaves a little to be desired. He plays a little flat footed when in press coverage and it allows the WR to get outside of him and then by him. Seems a little lost when in space in the passing game and that is why he's not going to get you INT's or separate the ball from the WR in the open field. His instincts against the run are way better than his instincts vs the pass. He's a hitter but he doesn't wrap up nor use his shoulder instead, he leads with his head when tackling. That will lead to penalties with helmet to helmet contact. You can see in the clip that he almost knocked himself silly on one play because of that. Lost his helmet in the process. That same tenacity when tackling will lead to concussions at the next level because of poor tackling technique. Would like him to reign it in a little and play a little more in control because I could see him biting down hard on the play fake and getting sucked in, thus getting out of position. He looks in the backfield a lot and especially in press coverage at the wrong times and it allows the player to leave him in the dust sometimes. As most college players are, he is inconsistent with his backpedal. You get the feeling he relies on his athletic ability to make a play and doesn't feel the need to use fundamentals consistently. Of course, that's most players coming out of college. Not sure why college coaches don't hold their players accountable for poor technique and footwork at that level because you see immensely talented players coming out of college all the time and have no concept or value of applying fundamentals to their game. He's somewhat of a liability in pass coverage so I think he starts out in the league as a special teamer and will see time on running downs in subpackages early on.
The verdict: Thomas has a future in the league that's for sure. His tenacity and run-stopping ability along with his blitz capability potential will serve him well in his career. He has to work on pass coverage and press coverage techniques because there is no way someone with his strength and quickness should let his man beat him off the line of scrimmage. Thomas gives you extreme efficiency at the pick with his experience in all facets of the the kicking game. Go ahead and shoot me, but I have Shawn Williams SS ranked the same or a little higher because Williams is slightly better in pass coverage than Thomas is. However, I think Thomas has a place in the league and deserves to play at the next level. I admire his work ethic, and seems to be an upstanding young man demonstrated by raising his 6 siblings after his parents death. I'm rooting for him and will be a fan of his no matter where he plays.
I've included a clip(Syracuse vs Pitt) here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1DCB6SmkDU