The Louisville Cardinal

Stacey Thomas prepped to lead in 2017

By Micah Brown —

With spring practices underway, football continues their hunt for a playoff spot. With most focus on the offense and their returning production, new names emerge for the defensive side of the ball after being ranked 14th overall in total defense last season.

Senior linebacker Stacy Thomas showed signs of progression throughout his career on the team. After playing a reserve role in the 2014 season, Thomas played in all 13 games his sophomore year and tallied a career-best 11 tackles in the team’s bowl win over Texas A&M after coming in for James Burgess, who was ejected from the game due to a targeting call.

The senior recorded a career-best 85 tackles in 2016, second most on the team, and knows he will be a leader in 2017.

“I just got to make sure I lead by example,” Thomas said. “When I get on the field, (I need to) talk, let everyone know what they got to do and just keep myself healthy and make sure I can play.”

Thomas described his middle linebacker position as “the quarterback of the defense.”

“I have to learn my position, learn everybody else’s and make sure everyone is (aligned correctly) before each play starts,” Thomas said.

While much of the focus entering next season will be on the offense with the returning Heisman-winner Lamar Jackson, Louisville’s defense looks to continue their success in refraining offenses.

Photo by Nancy Hanner / The Lousiville Cardinal