"I'm deciding to come back to Tech to better myself and this team for the future," Thomas said in a statement released by the school. "I'm looking forward to what this upcoming season holds. The NFL has always been a goal of mine, but the NFL will always be there while college is only a five-year experience that you can't get back."
Thomas had said before the Hokies left Blacksburg, Va., for the Russell Athletic Bowl that his decision would be "up in the air" even if the NFL draft advisory board suggested he could be a first-round draft choice. Some early draft projections had him ranked highly among quarterbacks because of his size and running ability, which have drawn comparisons to Cam Newton. Thomas said he didn't think he was consistent enough to be a winning NFL quarterback, and that "I love the university, I love the people here, all my friends are still here, and ... I think I need some work to do." - AP Sports
At 6-6 and 260 pounds, he has a big-league arm with the athleticism to make plays with his legs and move the offense up and down the field. Last season in his first year as a starter, Thomas accounted for 30 total touchdowns (19 passing/11 rushing) while leading the Hokies to an 11-win season and trip to the Sugar Bowl. He had just one 300-yard passing game and struggled in some big moments, but he could be just scratching the surface of his potential, which is the largest reason for the intrigue around his pro prospects.
Most high school quarterbacks lament the thought of changing positions, but Thomas was recruited as a tight end/wide receiver and he had no problem with that, he just wanted to play offense. The Lynchburg-native actually preferred to stay at tight end, but the Hokies' coaching staff had other plans, moving him to quarterback soon after he arrived in Blacksburg.
After redshirting in 2009, he was the back-up quarterback behind Tyrod Taylor in 2010 and was also used at receiver in a few packages. Thomas became the starter last season as a redshirt sophomore, finishing with 3,013 passing yards, 469 rushing yards, 19 passing scores, 11 rushing scores, 10 interceptions and a 59.8% completion percentage. He earned Second Team All-ACC honors in his first season as the starter and made believers out of a lot of doubters, including himself.
Now with a year under his belt, it will be interesting to see the development of Thomas and you can bet the NFL is watching, extremely close. Is he a future No. 1 overall pick like Newton? Too early to tell, but the raw talent is too good to dismiss the thought.