Shamarko Thomas — Meet the 2012 Syracuse football team

Every Tuesday over the summer, we’re going to highlight individual players on the 2012-13 Syracuse football team. This week, we’re profiling strong safety Shamarko Thomas.

Thomas (right) is a key piece of SU’s secondary

Even without his hard-hitting counterpart Phillip Thomas next to him, Shamarko Thomas is poised to lead the defense after a solid season that was briefly interrupted by an injury.

Thomas admits that the defense took a hit with losses to graduation and the pursuit of pro careers, but he says he’s confident in the young guys the coaches have brought in to fill those spots and the development he saw during spring football.

» Related: Meet OL Zack Chibane

“The spring game was meant to mature players,” he said afterwards. “Teach them the scheme, but get them matured in the game. Give them the knowledge to keep us competing out there.”

During that spring game, Thomas looked to be in mid-season form, recording four tackles. He will be a key part of a defense that lost Phillip Thomas, now with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, and Chandler Jones, who was drafted in the first round by the New England Patriots.

Thomas nearly joined them, but instead decided to stay for another season.

“I’ve decided to put my NFL career on hold for another year and will remain at SU for another season to further develop myself as an athlete,” Thomas said in a Tweet on Dec. 30.

» More SU football: Syracuse v. UConn preview

Inside Slant: Shamarko Thomas is one of the hardest hitters to come through SU in a long time. But what sets him apart from others is that he’s a very smart player, understanding both defensive and offensive schemes. That’s going to be extremely important for him this season as he takes on the role of a leader on this young team. The sky is the limit for Thomas. I see him having a huge season, getting him some serious looks from NFL scouts.

Vitals:

  • Birthdate: February, 1991
  • Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA
  • High School: Ocean Lakes
  • Position: Strong Safety
  • Class: Senior
  • Height: 5’10″
  • Weight: 208 lbs

Career Highlights: Thomas has recorded 175 total tackles during his three years in Orange. Aside from a couple missed games due to injury, he has played in every game since he stepped foot on campus. He has made 13 tackles for loss and even picked up a few fumbles.

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