When you watch Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas work out in preparation for the upcoming NFL Combine and NFL Draft, it can be tough to differentiate him from a fire hydrant that has suddenly sprouted muscular arms and legs. At roughly 6-foot-3 and 270 pounds, Thomas is built so solidly that it’s a wonder anyone standing in his way doesn’t simply change course to avoid being bulldozed once they see him coming.
Thomas’ strength, combined with his blazing speed (see above), have made Stanford’s best defensive player a hot topic in predictions of this year’s NFL Draft. Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett has received plenty of attention as the top edge rusher in the draft, but Thomas isn’t far behind him; and depending on what teams at the top of the draft decide to do, he might even be selected before Garrett.
What makes his skills so extraordinary is that Thomas was overweight and totally out of shape when he began his football career. He told STACK that as a 4th grader, he weighed close to 200 pounds. It was the peak of his physical unfitness.
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“I was pretty big, and not in the best way, in the early elementary school, middle school stages,” Thomas said. “I found out what video games were and just sat upstairs. I was pretty chubby.”
It wasn’t until he got to 7th grade that Thomas started to lean out, which happened to coincide with his joining the basketball team. His coach sent the players to private trainers for one-on-one workouts, and that’s how Thomas discovered his love of the weight room.
“I liked that extra work, that one-on-one feeling,” Thomas said. “I liked that burn that you get from being sore, being tired and then saying ‘Forget that, I’m going to get more.'”
Thomas began to shed pounds, and by his sophomore year of high school he’d also overhauled his diet. He was a new man, a fearsome defensive end with a motor that never shut off. Coming out of high school, he was a top 25 recruit nationally.
Watch him work out today and you’d never think that he was ever out of shape for one second of his existence.
From Negative Pull-Ups with a weighted vest to throwing up 600 pounds on the Squat, Thomas loves working out, which is evident in how he’s preparing for the NFL Combine.
A guy who used to prefer sitting around and playing video games is now the NFL’s next gym rat. Solomon Thomas has been through quite a transformation.