Redshirt helped Thomas get ready

Cory Thomas is expected to be in the Bulldogs' defensive line rotation this fall as  a redshirt freshman. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Cory Thomas is expected to be in the Bulldogs’ defensive line rotation this fall as a redshirt freshman. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Cory Thomas was one of Mississippi State’s biggest recruiting triumphs from the 2014 class.

The Bulldogs wooed the coveted three-star prospect away from a commitment to Tennessee on national signing day.

Although Thomas was highly touted in high school and accumulated 13 scholarship offers from some of the nation’s elite programs, he sat out his first season in Starkville last fall.

“It was real tough sitting out but I wasn’t tripping,” Thomas said. “It was what coach (Dan) Mullen thought was best for me. By me sitting out, I got to learn from guys like Kaleb Eulls and P.J. Jones, guys that have been in the system and been in the trenches against LSU and Alabama.”

Thomas played defensive end at McAdory (Ala.) High School at 270-pounds but ballooned up to 320 along his 6-foot-5 frame during his true freshman campaign after shifting inside to defensive tackle. He has since shed down to 301 and feels he can move much better with the lighter weight.

“The redshirt year helped me out a lot in my opinion,” Thomas said. “It basically got me ready for the game. When I first came in, I thought in my head that I was ready. But when I got to camp it was a reality check. Once that reality check hit, I knew I needed to get in the weight room and what I needed to do. By the time bowl prep came, I saw improvement and so did coach Mullen, coach (David) Turner and coach (Geoff) Collins when he was here.”

Thomas enjoyed a solid spring moving up to the second team behind All-American defensive tackle Chris Jones. He recorded two tackles during the spring game including a sack.

“The spring went pretty good,” Thomas said. “I’m really getting used to the pace of the game, the flow. It’s a whole different speed going from the three’s to the two’s. I already know it’s way faster with the one’s. I’m just trying to get myself ready for that.”

Thomas decision to become a Bulldog may have come late in the recruiting process but the former first team All-State selection is glad he chose to come. The season MSU had during his first year only confirmed that fact for him.

“I’ve been very happy here and I don’t think I made the wrong choice,” Thomas said. “I’m happy with my choice and it shows. Back home, people doubted us and now it’s like we’ve proven the world wrong.”

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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