Oct. 20, 2004
by Simit Shah
The saying goes that good things come to those who wait. For Levon Thomas, the wait is over, as the senior receiver is enjoying the best season of his college career.
For the past three seasons, Thomas has labored in the shadows of Jonathan Smith, Kerry Watkins, Will Glover and Kelly Campbell. However, he’s stepped into the spotlight this season, already catching 19 passes for 338 yards through six games. That puts him pace to surpass his past three seasons combined.
“There have been some ups and downs the past few years,” the College Park, Ga. native admitted. “I’m having a great time right now. I’m having fun, being relaxed and playing hard.”
Thomas, who played at nearby Banneker High School, was a quarterback his senior year, throwing for over 1,600 yards and accounted for 20 touchdowns. Rated as one of the top prep athletes in the Southeast, he first committed to South Carolina, but then opted to sign with Tech to be closer to his family.
The 6-foot, 195-pounder made an immediate impact as a true freshman in 2001. He caught four passes for 116 yards in a rout against Navy and appeared to be headed for stardom. A shoulder injury cut his rookie season short, and the last two years saw him catch 30 passes for 323 yards.
So in a deep and talented receiving corps this year, it’s easy to see why Thomas was somewhat of an afterthought in the minds of most fans. In spite of the circumstances, Thomas has continued to work hard and, along with fellow senior Nate Curry, set the tone for the entire group.
“Those two guys are tremendous workers,” said assistant head coach Buddy Geis, who oversee the receivers. “All these young guys see how hard they work. There isn’t any clowning around when they hit the field. They are working hard, fast and quick. They did that all summer, and these young guys saw that. It’s rubbed off on Calvin (Johnson), Pat Clark and Chris Dunlap.”
“I try to give the younger receivers all the advice I can give them,” added Thomas. “Anytime I see them make a mistake, I try to help them out.
Early this season, Geis turned to Thomas due to an injury to Curry. Making the most of his opportunity against Clemson, Thomas caught eight passes for 100 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter that started Tech’s miraculous comeback.
“That was probably the highlight of my college career,” he said, stating the obvious.
“That Clemson game was a good confidence boost for Levon,” noted Geis. “Even when you’re doing the right things, you need a game like that to prove to yourself that you can do it.”
One of Thomas’ strengths is his versatility. He’s played at all the receiver positions, as well as returned kickoffs on special teams. Thomas averages 91.3 all-purpose yards per game.
“What’s nice is about Levon is that he can play the X, the Z when we give Calvin a rest, and then he plays H, which is our third wide receiver,” Geis explained. “He knows all the positions, and he’s a smart kid.
“He’s doing all the right things. I’ve told him, `You’re doing the right things, but you have to do it every week.’ That’s what the pro scouts are looking for.”
Impressing those scouts is on Thomas’ mind. While he is getting close to finishing work on his management degree, Thomas dreams of playing the NFL.
“That’s definitely what I’d like to do after I’m done at Georgia Tech,” he said. “That’s the goal, but we still have a lot of work to do this season.”