LOUISVILLE, Ohio - Michigan's newest commitment, junior defensive back Dymonte Thomas traveled to Louisville with his Alliance (Ohio) Marlington team in hopes of continuing their early-season undefeated run. It was not to be, however, as the Dukes fell 28-35.
Louisville's run defense was stout for most of the game, especially up the middle. Marlington's passing attack couldn't make the Leopards pay for cheating against the run. Two long touchdown runs by Thomas kept the game close, but Louisville took the lead with under two minutes remaining in the game, and the Dukes could not answer.
Dymonte Thomas finished the game with 10 rushes for 151 yards, with touchdown dashes of 67 and 47 yards. He also opened the game with a 26-yard run that could have gone all the way if not for a shoestring tackle. His other seven rushes, however, went for just eleven yards. The name of his game is speed, and when the holes weren't there (they often weren't in a bad performance by the Marlington offensive line), he wasn't going to create much on his own.
"It's really hard against Louisville because they do a lot of stunts up front," he said. "A lot of times though, if you get me the ball to the outside, I'm pretty good. I can burn pretty much anybody."
Thomas is about 6-1, 175, but his frame has plenty of room to add more weight, particularly in his legs. Putting on some muscle mass will allow him to run more powerfully on offense, and also make bigger hits on defense. If he can add that weight without losing any of his exceptional speed, he should be a great player.
On defense, Thomas finished with eight total tackles. He played almost entirely in short zones, which doesn't play to his strengths very much. It neutralized his speed to a certain degree, and also made it easier for the Leopards to stay away from him in the run and pass games. He also needs to improve his reactions on zone defense. He was a little out of his element, missing opportunities to break on the ball and knock down passes. In a deeper zone, which he'll play in college, the coverage will be a little less complex, and play much more into his speed.
He blitzed on a couple occasions, but the quick passing game of Louisville (which also hurt him in coverage) prevented Thomas from making many big plays in the backfield.
Thomas is a great physical specimen, with excellent speed and a long frame on which he can add plenty of good weight. He's likely to end up on the defensive side of the ball in college, where his speed can help him make plays in the passing game and track down ball carriers. He has a bit of work to do in zone coverage, but there is plenty of time to improve before he reaches college.