Every day here at Your Best 11, we are counting down to the start of the regular season with our top 150 players for the 2012 season.
No. 88: Chase Thomas, No. 44, Stanford, Linebacker
Thomas is a great fit for the Stanford Cardinal 3-4. He's a linebacker who plays the hybrid defensive end position, and the big senior really sets the tone for the team. He's also a solid edge rusher, as evidenced by his 8.5 sacks in 2011—a number that was good for first in the Pac-12, tying him with Nick Perry and Josh Shirley.
The biggest impact that Thomas makes is behind the line, though, as he paced the team with 17.5 tackles for loss—something that is quite impressive. The big kid is an agile attacker, and he also has a solid repertoire of moves that get him to the quarterback or ball carrier. He rips, swims and is able to run the hump with the best in college football.
Tough to find fault in a guy who is such a stud on the defensive side of the football. The toughest thing for Thomas and the Stanford defense is going to be adjusting to the new offense's woes. Part of the reason the Cardinal defense was able to be effective last year was that they were rested and ready to go all out thanks to their ball-controlling defense.
With a new starter at quarterback and new pass-catchers, expect the offense to stall often. How the team copes with the increased demands should be interesting to watch.
Chase Thomas is going to be competing with the great trio of linebackers at Stanford, but seeing as the rising senior was on the team already, odds are he makes it a repeat appearance.
The Cardinal need a solid performance out of their defense, and Thomas is one of the linebackers who will set the tone. Expect his tackles-for-loss numbers to remain steady, possibly pushing towards the 20 number as he adds a couple of sacks to his total.
All in all, Chase Thomas is poised for a banner year at Palo Alto.