Last week, former Temple CB Derrek Thomas announced that he is transferring to Baylor. I’ve read several articles which have just relayed the news, but haven’t seen any analysis on his likely position or impact.
The years I’ve spent with my brothers in Philadelphia will never be forgotten I’ve learned life lessons and have created relationships that with last this lifetime an the next I appreciate every struggle an hardship that I’ve gone through the next step in my life will be the biggest to date an most impactful I’m more excited then you can image to be playing football the Baylor University an becoming a part of what’s to come there...after all I’ve seen this exact story before ♂️ I thank GOD an everyone who has pushed me through my years the next steps I take because I want too #DunechiX : @_tokanese
Thomas is listed as 6’3 193lbs, and that number doesn’t look exaggerated. He’s a tall, rangy player. His player page at Temple shows an interesting story—playing as a true freshman at WR, redshirting next year and switching to CB, began starting at CB in the 10th game of his RS-Soph year, then playing in-between injuries as a RS-Junior. Thomas will have one season to play for Baylor as a RS-Senior, and is available to play immediately as a graduate transfer.
I’ve seen most articles refer to Thomas a safety or DB in general. Unless there is some inside information I’m not privy to, it seems pretty clear to me that Thomas is a CB all the way. There is a lack of Temple’s full games on youtube, but I did find a couple where Thomas is healthy: the USF game and the Houston game. Thomas’ ability shines bright in both of these games. He isn’t always playing because Temple rotates DBs like Baylor does.
These two games showed me that Thomas has a couple clear strengths. First, he may be 6-3, but he has good deep speed. Second, he is really good at pressing guys on the line of scrimmage. When you’re a tall corner, you have to be good in press to take advantage of your size, otherwise your inherent relative lack of quickness (compared to shorter corners) will come to bite you when receivers are in space. It’s tough to tell in just a few games, but it seems like he has good ball skills as well.
Grayland Arnold is a clear starter at CB next season, but the opposite spot was a bit of a revolving door of Harrison Hand and Jameson Houston. Both of those guys I thought played well, and would feel totally comfortable with them going into next season. That’s why taking Thomas is so interesting and a clear indicator, in my opinion. Baylor is actually tight on scholarships at this point, so they wouldn’t take a guy unless he could be a clear impact player. Rhule, Snow, and Brown obviously have history with Thomas as they coached him at Temple. They know what kind of player he is and can be. This only bodes well for Baylor.
I know the need at safety is pressing, but with Blake Lynch likely moving to FS along with the influx of freshman, I don’t think it’s as dire as last year. Graduate transfers are often overlooked for their impact. Expect Thomas to have a huge impact this next year, likely as a starter, but at the worst a rotational player. I do not expect them to move Thomas to safety, a position he has never played before and would only have one year to learn. Thomas looks like a clear starter at CB. Baylor wouldn’t have taken a grad transfer at a position of strength to provide unneeded depth. Expect big things from Thomas.