COMMENTARY| Initially, he was recruited as a linebacker, but with the recent massive weight gain and addition of muscle, former Detroit Renaissance star Lawrence Thomas could play defensive end for the Michigan State Spartans.
Recruited at around 232 pounds, Thomas, two years later, now has about 290 pounds on his 6-foot-4 frame. The state's top-rated 2011 recruit already had adequate speed, evidenced by his 4.62-second 40-yard dash as a senior.
Scouting reports on Thomas suggested that he could play up to five different positions. Terms like "oversized linebacker" were used to describe him. Whether playing interior defense, on the end, or linebacker, Thomas' versatility could prove quite valuable to Michigan State.
At defensive end? Rumors have swirled, suggesting that Thomas could be bumped there.
But that move isn't certain, says Spartans coach Mark Dantonio. However, Dantonio told Spartan Mag that he's ready to see what Thomas can do -- anywhere on the field. Thomas has been hampered by shoulder surgery and health issues since arriving to East Lansing.
"He's a big-boned, big-body guy and very athletic," Dantonio said. "He should be a great player. His problem was health-wise last year. We have to make sure he's healthy, fully-healthy. He has to make it every practice to improve. But he is a good football player," later adding: "He's ready to go. He has great enthusiasm, works extremely hard. He did make it through the entire fall participating last year (after the initial injury in August). From that standpoint, it was a positive. He sort of held off and got the surgery later."
Depending on where and how they're used, Thomas and William Gholston could be Michigan State's ideal pair of bookends. With one on the right, the other on the left, the Spartans would have two speedy pass-rushers. Gholston is one of the most aggressive defensive players in the league. Best-case scenario for Thomas would be to mimic Gholston.
Thomas and Gholston were involved in a rollover accident in May. Neither were hurt too badly.
Adam Biggers has followed NCAA football for over 20 years, specifically the Michigan State Spartans. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.
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