Former Walton High School standout Chase Thomas has done all he can after completing a standout career at Stanford.
Since playing his final game for the Cardinal at the Rose Bowl, Thomas has participated in the Senior Bowl, worked out for teams at the NFL combine and Stanford’s pro day, and worked out on an almost daily basis in preparation to hear his name called during next week’s draft.
After redshirting his first year at Stanford, Thomas, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound outside linebacker, totaled 227 tackles, 27 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and two interceptions in 53 career games.
A two-time first-team all-Pac-12 selection and a Sporting News All-American in 2011, Thomas was a team captain as a senior and helped lead Stanford to a 20-13 victory over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
With his college career over, Thomas is content to get on with the next phase of his life, and in the final days leading up to the NFL draft, he’s calm, relaxed and waiting for the moment.
“I try not to think about it too much,” Thomas said. “I’ve done pretty much everything I could have possibly done. Now, it’s in the hands of the teams and what they want to do. I did what I was supposed to do at the combine, I played well in the Senior Bowl and I had a good pro day and put myself in the best place possible leading up the draft.
“I’m just waiting now. I know, whenever I’m chosen and wherever I go, it will be the right place.”
Shortly after the Rose Bowl, Thomas began training in Delray Beach, Fla., with XPE Sports. His pre-draft preparations included a starting spot at the Senior Bowl, in which he tied for third on the South team with five solo tackles.
“That was a great opportunity to play against some of the best players in the country,” Thomas said. “I had a chance to talk with different scouts from different teams that were there, and I played some stack linebacker in a 4-3 scheme, which is something I had never done before. I felt like I adapted to it well and showed some versatility.”
Roughly a month later, Thomas showed off his skills at the combine in Indianapolis, before scouts had a chance to see him at Stanford’s pro day in March.
“My pro say went well,” he said. “I ran a 4.8 in the 40 (-yard dash) and bench-pressed 18 (repetitions) at the combine, but I improved on both of those at the pro day. My 40 time dropped to 4.78, and I improved on bench to 21 reps. I did better in some of the other drills, too, so that worked out well.
“The combine was a grind because there were a lot of days involved and a lot to do to show that you’re ready for the next level. Once it was over, I did some more fine-tuning down in Delray and tried to improve on everything at my pro day, so that worked out well.”
Thomas, who stayed on the West Coast after concluding his final evaluations with scouts, will return to east Cobb on Monday and wait out the draft. Thomas said he has been told by his agent that he’s projected to be chosen Saturday, between the third and fifth rounds.
“We’re going to cook on the grill, and I’m just going to relax with my family and my girlfriend,” Thomas said of his plans for the draft. “I’m excited and ready to start this new chapter of my life.
“I’m truly blessed to have this opportunity to play pro football. It’s been a goal of mine since I started taking the game seriously in high school, and I’m just blessed to be in this position.”