#STRecruiting: #Gamecocks land Florida defensive end with an NFL heritage

Bryan Thomas Jr. with Mike Peterson

DE Bryan Thomas Jr. (6-2 215) of Winter Garden, FL, whose dad played several seasons in the NFL, will play his college football under the watchful eye of another NFL veteran. On Thursday, Thomas announced a commitment to USC where he will be coached by Mike Peterson who spent 14 seasons playing in the league the younger Thomas aspires to reach.

The fact he could be taught by someone who knows how to get there was a big reason he chose the Gamecocks over West Virginia.

“If you’re a veteran of the NFL, that means you learn from the best of the best,” Thomas said last month. “That means you know everything.  Really, there’s nothing wrong with learning from the best of the best.  If you learn from somebody who made it to where you’re trying to get to, it gets no better than that. Coach Peterson was in the NFL for a lot of years, and he knows the game like the back of his hand.”

Thomas worked out for Peterson during a camp session in June and obviously impressed him with his skillset.

“He said I’m versatile and I can get to the passer,” Thomas said last month.  “I’m more of an attack person, not read and react.  He likes how I get to the ball.  He said I’m very coachable, so he wants to have the chance to coach me.”

Thomas returned to USC for an official visit over the weekend and was on hand for the season opening win over Eastern Illinois.

Thomas is rated a three-star in the 247Sports Composite and is ranked the #48 edge rusher nationally. He is coming off a season of 11 quarterback sacks.

“They say my best attribute is getting to the quarterback,” Thomas said in August.  “Getting off the ball, that’s the thing they see me doing at the next level.  I see myself doing that at the next level also.  That’s on me and my dad.  We really train on the technique, because that’s the most important thing, handwork, getting off the ball and getting to that quarterback, because that’s what makes money.”  

Thomas is the 17th commitment for Shane Beamer’s 2022 class which was ranked 22nd nationally in the 247Sports Composite prior to adding Thomas to the list. Ten of the commitments are on the defensive side, and Thomas is the third for the defensive line.

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