IN THE HUDDLE: Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas, ZEPHYRHILLS

Hidden to the northeast of Tampa, there is an area, in Pasco County, that is home to some impressive football talent each season. This coming year is certainly no exception as receiver/safety Bryan Thomas of Zephyrhills has everything you look for in a student/athlete.

During the spring and into the summer, www.floridakids.us will bring you our IN THE HUDDLE segments with football players throughout the state of Florida.

These are similar to the evaluations we pass on to the hundreds of colleges who visit our website, call us on the phone and correspond via e-mail.

Here is another top football player to keep an eye on this season – and beyond.

PLAYER: Bryan Thomas
POSITION: WR/S
SCHOOL: Zephyrhills.
HEAD COACH: Tom Fisher.
HEIGHT: 6-2
WEIGHT: 195
SPEED: 4.39
www.floridakids.us Pre-Spring Rating: 89.

In the state of Florida, there are some very impressive football players, but none may have their priorities in an order like Thomas does.

Following in a tradition of relatives (Demetrius McKay and D.J. McCullough) to play receiver for the Bulldogs, he is coming off two consecutive years in which he lit it up on both sides of the ball.

Two years ago, he caught 20 passes for 345 yards. Last year, Thomas had 1,325 yards and scored 10 times in a season in which he also maintained an impressive 3.7 grade point average, which went down from a 3.8. What do you want from the star of the football and track teams who also works at the nearby Kash 'n Karry Supermarket?

Having watched him play myself during his sophomore year, his concentration level was off. He took his eyes off the ball too much and would have a number of drops. His play in the defensive secondary, however, certainly made a difference as he has started to put it all together.

STRENGTHS: While he has the potential to dominate on the offensive side of the ball, with his speed, ability to get open and using his impressive leaping ability, I still see him as a safety at the next level.

Sitting there watching film on him, he does look mighty good as a receiver, running good patterns and now looking the ball in. Reminds me of a Michael Irvin because he is not afraid to mix it up and go over the middle for the ball. But that's also why I think that he would make a tremendous safety in college. He also reminds me a lot of Johnny Peyton (Dade City Pasco), who is now at the University of South Florida.

While he hasn't displayed his true ability to play the safety position in high school, some college will get him on campus, knowing that he is a very smart young man, and give him the opportunity to make plays on defense. His hips are so loose and he has such a fluid running style, he is the perfect athlete to mold and shape in so many directions.

WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON: Watching him several times and writing down notes on the positives and negatives, Thomas still needs to spend more time on his overall pass patterns. Right now, I get the feeling that he is relying more on his speed and leaping ability rather than trying to run crisper "outs" and "posts". Still, he has the potential to do some great things.

In the defensive secondary, the same can be said. The athletes he is competing against right now are in no way what he will see at the next level, but that can be said for just about any high school athlete.

IN CONCLUSION: Grades, athletic ability and the opportunity to play a number of positions. While I based his pre-spring rating much on the way he started his junior year, I would expect his rise to be quick over the next eight to 10 months!

COLLEGES ON THE HORIZON: The University of Miami has always been a big favorite, but Auburn, Florida State and Iowa are in the early mix.

If you have film (VHS/DVD) or a color photo of a player and you want us to get him aboard in our INSIDE THE HUDDLE series, simply e-mail us at FloridaKids1@hotmail.com or forward to Florida Kids, P.O. Box 3181, Hallandale Beach, Fl. 33009.

Here are some more IN THE HUDDLE segments that you may enjoy reading as well:

IN THE HUDDLE - JORDAN DALRYMPLE
IN THE HUDDLE - PRESTON PARKER
IN THE HUDDLE - SABBATH JOSEPH
IN THE HUDDLE - PRESTON PARKER
IN THE HUDDLE - RYAN KHAWLY
IN THE HUDDLE - REGGIE ODOM
IN THE HUDDLE - KEITH HOUSTON
IN THE HUDDLE - C.J. SPILLER
IN THE HUDDLE - RILEY COOPER
IN THE HUDDLE - JAMES JAMISON
IN THE HUDDLE - DESMOND GEE
IN THE HUDDLE - RICKY GARY
IN THE HUDDLE - LAURANCE MARIUS
IN THE HUDDLE - LABRANDON GLOVER
IN THE HUDDLE - RICHARD JACKSON
IN THE HUDDLE - KENRICK ELLIS

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