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The Great Andrew Thomas

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Clearly, Andrew Thomas has established himself as one of the very best players in the country.

Rarely are offensive linemen referred to as superstars. In the case of Georgia sophomore Andrew Thomas, an exception should be made. The 6'5'', 320-pound anchor is the complete prototype on the edge, having played both left and right tackle, and is being projected as one of the first picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. Thomas, topping the depth chart from day one, has made 28 career starts, two SEC Championship Games, a Rose Bowl and a national title bout included. Few linemen, ever, have had a more accomplished first two years.

Already an All-American, Thomas appears to be an all-timer as well.

Thomas, stepping into the lineup as a true freshman in college football's toughest conference, helped Georgia to one of the best seasons in program history. The Bulldogs overwhelmed Auburn in the SEC Championship Game, topped Oklahoma in an instant-classic in Pasadena and lost to Alabama by three points and one play in an iconic national championship game. Georgia set a school record with 13 wins, won its first league title since 2005 and its first Rose Bowl since 1942. Mere months out of high school, Thomas, literally and figuratively, was a big reason why.

A U.S. Army All-American, former state champion and, depending on the service, a five-star recruit, the metro Atlanta-native outperformed all of the plaudits. Simply put, Thomas was a revelation as a true freshman in Athens. His debut came against an Appalachian State team that won ten games the year prior. Notably, Thomas' first road start came in South Bend against nationally-ranked Notre Dame. He finished the season lining up against three consecutive top ten foes.

Last fall, Thomas helped pace Georgia to an 11-1 regular season, another SEC Championship showdown and a Sugar Bowl appearance. He earned second-team All-American honors from both the Associated Press and Walter Camp and first-team recognition from Sports Illustrated. Though just a sophomore, Thomas was selected as one of Georgia's team captains in three different games. A statement was made.          

In addition to going 24-5 during Thomas' career, the Bulldogs have been one of the nation's most physically dominant offenses. Ranked ninth in the league the season before his arrival, Georgia has led the SEC in rushing in each of the last two years. The Bulldogs, quite remarkably given the level of competition, slotted 7th nationally in yards per carry in both 2017 and 2018. Georgia has also ranked in the top four in the conference in fewest sacks allowed the past two seasons. Thomas has led the way.  

Jim Johnson quantified the unparalleled production of Thomas in his marginal OAYP rankings. His metric score of 3.11 was nearly three times higher than that of his teammate Solomon Kindley, an incredible talent and, per the formula, the next-best blocker in the SEC. Thomas is the leader of the best offensive front in all of college football, a massive and powerful line fit with multiple awards candidates and future pros. Georgia's ability in the trenches only magnifies the talents of Jake Fromm and D'Andre Swift and makes the Bulldogs a championship contender.  

Clearly, Thomas has established himself as one of the very best players in the country. His legacy, should current trends continue, could be one for the ages.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports