Archive for November, 2009

All Eyes On: Earl Thomas

Posted in Longhorns Football with tags , on November 12, 2009 by burntorangehorn09

By Anthony Casson

 

College football is a world filled with some amazing talents, on and off the field. Within that world is the newest gem in my line-up, sophomore safety Earl Thomas. E.T., as his nickname goes, is one of Texas’s many star players, but there is a special presence about this young man.

Here’s what you should know…

2008

Thomas, who was part of the 2007 high school graduating class, was handed a redshirt season his first year with Texas. The four-sport letterman and four-star athlete (rivals.com) certainly had the talent to start, but Coach Mack Brown elected to have him build as a defensive back for a year.

Texas’s 2008 season brought a contingency of young defensive talent in the backfield. Of the group was E.T. His 5-10, 197 lb build with 4.4 second 40-speed immediately put him on the starting team.

Thomas’s stats for the whole season included 13 starts at safety (full season), important roles on special teams, 72 tackles (51 solo), 17 passes-broken-up (PBU), two interceptions (both against top-ranked Oklahoma), four forced-fumbles and one blocked punt.

The athlete turned new-safety talent out of Orange, Texas immediately became a fan-favorite in Austin.

 

2009

So far this season, Thomas has begun to make a national statement. Twice this year he has been crowned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for his performances against UTEP and Oklahoma. He is also in the running for the Jim Thorpe award, which is given at year’s end to the top defensive back.

His statistics have been tremendous thus far. As of week 10, he has 43 tackles (27 solo), 11 PBU, six interceptions and two touchdowns. The first of his two scores came against Colorado when he returned a pick 92 yards (ties for 2nd in Texas history). The second was a 31 yard pick-six at Oklahoma State.

 

Earl Thomas is a relaxed and cool guy. His teammates and coaches have nothing but positive things to say about him. Much of his easy-going attitude probably has to do with his father who is a pastor at a church. Thomas helps with church events by playing the piano whenever one is available…no singing, mind you, just playing the sounds. If his ability on the field could somehow turn into music, it would definitely be a masterpiece.

earlthomas

E.T. sports the Golden Hat after the 2009 Red River Rivalry

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All Eyes On: Ryan Williams

Posted in NCAA Football with tags , , , on November 6, 2009 by burntorangehorn09

By Anthony Casson

 

Who is he?

Ryan Williams is the extremely talented redshirt freshman tailback at Virginia Tech. He was a four-star running back, class of 2008, out of Manassas, Virginia.

Why is he so special?

Although it’s hard to ever think of comparing someone to the great Walter Payton, some of us see striking similarities to “Sweetness” in Williams’ running style. Williams certainly does not have that blow-back effect on defenders, like Payton did, but he still has a strong desire to put his head down when faced with large opponents. His body frame is destined to grow, even improving from his already-tough 5’ 10”, 206 lb stature. Remember, he’s only 19 years old…

What are his stats?

As previously mentioned, Ryan Williams is a redshirt freshman so any career stats only come from the current season.

Williams helped his team to a 16-3 victory over East Carolina Thursday night. Though he was unable to score, he ran 26 times for 179 yards. His gap vision and cut speed helped him maintain his place as Virginia Tech’s key offensive player on Thursday, at least other than their kicker.

Today, his total number of attempts is 189 and he has gained 1,109 yards. Despite not scoring a touchdown in either of the last two games (North Carolina and ECU), he has racked up 10 this season.

What should we expect in the future?

Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer has a real golden goose on his team. Everyone will know about Williams by the end of the season if they don’t already do, so I suspect his name might appear in pre-season Heisman candidates next year. The Hokies will be led by junior quarterback Tyrod Taylor in 2010, which will help keep them in the top 25 rankings. This mixed with Ryan’s natural talent and Beamer’s coaching skills will improve the youngster’s chances of grabbing the trophy.

The game against ECU marked Williams’ sixth time he has rushed for over 100 yards; his future looks brighter and brighter.

Before we move on, everyone needs to know one more thing about this young talent. Last week when the Hokies lost to unranked North Carolina, Ryan showed extreme emotions. These emotions had been brought about by a fumble, which ultimately helped NC win the game in the waning seconds of the game. That fumble also belonged to Williams. I don’t know if I have ever seen a more distraught, emotional football player before. His mother told the media Thursday night that he takes extreme pride in holding on to the ball; he just cried after the NC lost when he saw her. Every single day Williams puts in maximum effort. After all, he is trying to follow his hero, Walter Payton. Look out for No. 34

Ryan Williams of Virginia Tech

Ryan Williams busts loose