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Thomas DeCoud, FS

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 207 | College: California
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Thomas DeCoud, an athletic pass defender with the quickness to play cornerback, is known for his skills on special teams.

With excellent leaping ability and long arms, he blocked six kicks during his first two seasons with the Bears. Despite his lean frame, he has also proven to be a solid tackler in the box, relishing his role of taking on ballcarriers on outside running plays.

His versatility was invaluable at Cal, where he played every position in the secondary. With his ball anticipation skills and acceleration to close on plays in front of him, DeCoud might have found a home at free safety, earning a full-time job for the first time in his collegiate career at that position as a senior. He is known around the Pac-10 Conference for his athleticism and intensity. "I've been hit by everybody on the team," Cal tailback Justin Forsett told the San Francisco Chronicle. "When Thomas hits you, it's not something you want to remember."

DeCoud was a standout football and basketball player at Pinole Valley High School. He earned first team All-Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League accolades during a brilliant senior season in which he recorded 80 tackles and two interceptions at cornerback, and caught 23 passes for 600 yards at wide receiver. As a junior, he was awarded All-ACCAL honors in both football and basketball.

The 175-pound freshman spent his first season at California playing cornerback on the scout team in 2003. He spent most of the 2004 campaign on the special-team coverage units, appearing in 10 games as a reserve cornerback, finishing with nine tackles (six solos) and a fumble recovery. He also led the Pac-10 Conference with three blocked kicks, despite playing early in the year with a right ankle sprain suffered in fall camp.

DeCoud shifted to free safety as a sophomore, playing in 11 games behind Harrison Smith. He continued to excel on special teams, again blocking three kicks. He also came up with 28 tackles (18 solos) with a stop for a loss, but was bothered early in the year by a hyper-extended right knee and a left thumb sprain that would require surgery during the 2005 season.

DeCoud took over free safety duties, starting the team's first four games of the 2006 season before missing the Oregon State and Oregon contests due to a right knee sprain in the Arizona State game. He returned to action as a reserve behind Bernard Hicks, making 45 tackles (20 solos) with a stop behind the line of scrimmage and three pass breakups, earning Cal's Most Improved Player honors.

As a senior, DeCoud was named the defensive captain, picking up Cal MVP and All-Pac 10 Conference honorable mention. He started the first 12 games, registering a career-high 116 tackles (71 solo) to lead the Bears' defense. He added a sack with three stops for losses, as he recovered a fumble and caused two others. He also had an interception and four pass deflections.


Positives: Has the thick frame you look for in a safety, but he shows lean muscle tone and an athletic build and, while he is high-cut, he has long limbs, using his reach effectively to block kicks … Very mature player whose intelligence and grasp of the playbook allow him to shift to any position in the secondary during game action (shifted to cornerback to handle a big receiver) … Hard worker and leader by example type … Has a smooth running stride and shows the body control and hand-eye coordination to track the ball in flight (needs to time his leaps better on jump balls) … Will not hesitate to sacrifice his body in attempts to fill and come up to support vs. the run … Is a good contact-seeker with the functional strength to drive the ballcarrier to the ground, when he takes good angles and wraps to secure (not effective when he takes a side or leads with his shoulder) … Has a good grasp of the playbook and does a good job of recognizing schemes and making the calls in the secondary … Quick to find the ball vs. plays in front of him, but will bite on play-action and get out of position when he is caught peeking into the backfield … Has good hand placement to press or mirror the receiver, as he keeps his feet well coming out of his backpedal (is high in his stance, but has the ability to recover) … Has enough flexibility to get more than a few snaps at cornerback, but could be more disciplined in transition … Takes good angles to close and handles the switch-off well, when he does not eyeball the quarterback for too long (when he plays with his head in the backfield he will get caught out of position), but he will generally read indicators well … Has the speed to make plays off the hash, but has just adequate range, and must take good angles to compensate in attempts to go downhill … Comes up fast from the secondary to fill gaps in run support, keeping his hands active and striking with force to defeat blocks … Has good leg drive to push the lead blocker back into rush lanes … Not a blow-up type of tackler, but he has enough explosion on contact to get the ballcarrier down … Has a good concept for taking angles and drives hard into the ballcarrier and slot receivers … Best when running the alley or making plays in space, as it is rare to see him miss when he gets into position to make the play … Face-up type of tackler who does a good job of attacking the runner's outside leg … Excellent special-teams coverage defender, as he has the size, speed and hitting skills to excel.

Negatives: Is tough and durable, but minor injuries have set back his progress … Has very good range and closing speed vs. running plays, but he needs to make more plays on the ball in flight … Flashes good closing speed, but is not really a sudden mover … Plays much better vs. the run than he does in zone coverage, as he will often bite on play-action … Needs to sink his pads, as he is too tall in his backpedal to generate an explosive break … Has very good leaping ability to block kicks, but his timing appears off when trying to compete for jump balls … Can make plays in front of him, but does not consistently show the lateral range for long pursuit … Does not have natural hands, resulting in minimal pass breakups and interceptions during his career … Has good timed speed, but fails to close in a hurry and must develop a second gear to get back on the receiver when the opponent gets behind him (does not open his hips quick enough to recover when this happen) … High pad level lets the smaller slot receivers make plays underneath … Good collision tackler, but when he has to give a big chase, he will take a side or lead with his shoulder, which allows bigger backs to break arm tackles … Must bulk up to play at the next level (he dropped eight pounds from the end of the season before arriving at the Senior Bowl).

Compares To: REGGIE NELSON-Jacksonville … Nelson is much quicker than DeCoud, but both have exceptional leaping ability and timing to block kicks. DeCoud flashes good closing speed and is aggressive in run support. He is not much of a playmaker, having deflected just seven passes and intercepted one in 45 games, but he is a solid contact hitter who rarely misses when he gets into position to make the tackle.

Career Notes

DeCoud started 16 of 45 games during his career at California, recording 198 tackles (115 solos) with a 12-yard sack, five stops for losses of 25 yards, two forced fumbles and a pair of fumble recoveries. He intercepted one pass, deflected seven others and also blocked six kicks.

2007 Season

All-Pac 10 Conference honorable mention … Named the team's defensive captain, receiving the Cort Majors Award for his leadership skills … Also served as the defensive squad captain while starting the team's first twelve games at free safety … Led the team and ranked fourth in the league with a career-high 116 tackles (71 solo), a 12-yard sack and three stops for losses of 18 yards … Caused two fumbles and recovered another … Also had his first career interception while deflecting four passes … Had at least 10 tackles in six contests … Led a unit that ranked second in the Pac-10 in pass defense (214.31 yards per game).

2007 Game Analysis

Tennessee … Opened the season with nine tackles (4 solos), including a pair of third-down stops.

Colorado State … Delivered four hits (3 solos), with a pair of tackles coming on third-down action.

Louisiana Tech … Posted six solo tackles, elevating over Phil Beck to knock down a Zac Champion pass midway through the first quarter.

Arizona … Named Pac-10 Conference Defensive player of the Week, as DeCoud collected ten tackles with a 12-yard sack that caused a fumble and also had his first career interception … Dragged down QB Willie Tuitama for a 12-yard loss, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Cal's Tyson Alualo, who advanced the ball 4 yards for a touchdown and a 28-3 California lead late in the first quarter … With 0:10 left in the second quarter, he picked off Tuitama's third-&-10 pass at the Cal 19.

Oregon … Followed with six tackles and also broke up a Dennis Dixon fourth-&-8 pass at the OU 22 early in the fourth quarter to kill a Ducks' drive and set up a Cal series that was capped by QB Nate Longshore's 31-yard touchdown toss to receiver DeSean Jackson that gave Cal a 24-17 lead in an eventual 31-24 decision.

Oregon State … Produced twelve tackles (5 solos), including one that stopped tailback Yvenson Bernard for a 4-yard loss on a first-&-goal run from the Cal 1, forcing OSU to settle for a 22-yard second quarter field goal.

UCLA … Had a quiet day, registering four tackles (3 solos).

Arizona State … Three of DeCoud's nine tackles (8 solos) came on third-down snaps.

Washington State … Posted six tackles (3 solos) and stepped in front of an Alex Brink first quarter pass to prevent Jed Collins from catching the ball.

Southern California … Credited with twelve tackles (4 solos), stripping tailback Chauncey Washington of the football on a first-&-goal run at the Cal 4 on the first series of the second half, as Cal's Chris Conte recovered the pigskin at the 2-yard line.

Washington … Delivered a career-high sixteen tackles (13 solos), including three third-down hits in a 37-23 loss.

Stanford … Came up with eleven tackles (8 solos), but the team lost for the third-straight time, 37-23, prompting DeCoud to tell reporters after the game, "This is definitely a new low for us. It's kind of too late to salvage anything, but we just want to get to a bowl game and end on the right note so the younger guys can get this program back to where it was."

Air Force (Armed Forces Bowl) … DeCoud closed out his career with ten tackles (9 solos), including one that stopped Chad Hall for a 2-yard loss on a rushing attempt late in the second quarter … He killed a third quarter series when he stood up Shaun Carney at the line of scrimmage for no gain on a third-&-goal run at the Cal 1, forcing Air Force to settle for a 19-yard field goal … With 6:07 left in the game, he deflected a Shea Smith pass intended for Spencer Armstrong.

2006 Season

Named the team's Most Improved Player … Started the Bears' first four games vs. Tennessee, Minnesota, Portland State and Arizona State, but he suffered a right knee medial collateral ligament sprain vs. the Sun Devils, missing the next two contests vs. Oregon State and Oregon … Returned in a reserve role behind Bernard Hicks at free safety, finishing with 45 tackles (20 solos), including one for a one-yard loss … Also deflected three passes.

2006 Game Analysis

Opened the season with 13 tackles (10 solo) vs. Tennessee … Had seven hits vs. Minnesota and four stops in the Portland State clash … Added three tackles before hurting his knee vs. Arizona State … Returned three weeks later to post one solo tackle, as he also logged one of the top blocks of the season, taking out two Bruin defenders to spring DeSean Jackson for a 72-yard punt return touchdown … Delivered four tackles vs. Arizona and was in on three tackles while breaking up a pass vs. Southern California … Tallied six tackles (4 solos), including one for a loss vs. Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl.

2005 Season

Appeared in 11 games, shifting from cornerback to free safety, providing solid depth at that position behind starter, Harrison Smith … Registered 28 tackles (18 solos) with a stop for a three-yard loss … Also led the team with three blocked kicks.

2005 Game Analysis

Had blocked punts vs. Sacramento State and Oregon and a blocked field goal vs. New Mexico State, adding a team-high 10 tackles vs. the Aggies … Tallied four solo stops vs. Washington State and added a stop for a six-yard loss in the win at Washington … Credited with two tackles in the Las Vegas Bowl vs. Brigham Young.

2004 Season

Reserve cornerback, seeing most of his ten-game action on special teams … Came up with nine tackles (six solo), a fumble recovery and three blocked kicks … Blocked an extra-point attempt vs. Southern Miss that was returned for a defensive PAT by Wendell Hunter … Also blocked kicks vs. both Arizona and Washington … Recovered a fumble vs. Arizona State.

2003 Season

Redshirted as a freshman.

Injury Report

2004: Suffered a right ankle sprain in August camp that would sideline him for the season opener vs. Air Force (9/04).

2005: Bothered early in the season by an August camp left knee hyperextension … Also underwent September surgery to repair a left thumb injury, but did not miss any games (sat out two practices).

2006: Suffered a right knee medial collateral ligament sprain vs. Arizona State (9/23), sitting out the next two games vs. Oregon State (9/30) and Oregon (10/07) while seeing limited action vs. Washington State (10/14).

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.57 in the 40-yard dash … 265-pound bench press … 455-pound squat … 264-pound power clean … 34.5-inch vertical jump … 32 1/8-inch arm length … 8 7/8-inch hands … Right-handed … 24/36 Wonderlic score.

High School

… Attended Pinole Valley (Pinole, Cal.) High School, playing football for head coach Steve Alameda … Standout football and basketball player … Earned first team All-Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League accolades during a brilliant senior season in which he recorded 80 tackles and two interceptions at cornerback, and caught 23 passes for 600 yards at wide receiver … As a junior, he was awarded All-ACCAL honors in both football and basketball.


Interdisciplinary Studies major … Son of Angellique and Ronaldo DeCoud … Born 3/19/85 … Resides in Vallejo, California.


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