Few players are as important to their team as Oklahoma cornerback Jordan Thomas.
A four-year starter, Thomas snagged two interceptions to go along with his 17 pass breakups – third most in school history – last season. His 49 tackles were good for a career-high and he could surpass that personal best in 2017.
When the two-time, All-Big 12 corner is locked in, he can lockdown any receiver in the country. Oklahoma’s coverage on defense is literally predicated on Thomas completely eliminating one side of the field.
The difference between the Sooners winning a third consecutive conference title and returning to the College Football Playoff partly rests on Thomas’ shoulders.
Just don’t actually tell him that. He’d say the exact opposite, which he did, per CNHI Sports Oklahoma.
“I want to put us out there against anyone,” Thomas said. “I’ll put us out there against the best in the country just to see what we’re capable of, because I feel like we have made a lot of improvements and believe that we have done a lot of the little things right to put us in a position. So, once it comes to field time, everything is just gonna translate.”
Referring back to what I said earlier, the 6-foot-0, 185-pound Thomas is not only capable of taking away an offense’s top receiving target, but can eliminate an entire side of the field.
Sooner wideout Jeffery Mead praised Thomas during training camp for his ability to play the ball and read receivers.
“As camp went on, it got better,” Mead said. “Jordan Thomas, I think he’s an amazing corner. He plays the ball very well and he comes out of my cuts before I come out of them half the time. It makes me mad, infuriates me. But he’s good at what he does.”
After tossing UTEP aside 56-7 in their season-opener, Oklahoma will soon arrive in Columbus to square off with OSU under the lights. In his final go-round as a Sooner, Thomas is going to want to make this one count, so keep an eye on him throughout the night.
If he’s indeed locked in and is blanketing a whole side of the field, it’ll make life exceedingly difficult for a Buckeye passing game that has never been able to duplicate their performance against Oklahoma in 2016.
It’s up to Thomas to ensure it stays that way, a harsh reality for OSU.