Darien Thomas Interview

Darien Thomas – Wide Receiver – Senior – Belhaven

Alex Khvatov:  What are your measurements (height, weight and forty time)?   
Darien Thomas:  6’2, 200 and 4.49.   
Alex Khvatov:  Coming out of high school, what programs showed interest in you? 
Darien Thomas:  I was committed to Kentucky.  Then I decommitted and decided to go to Southern Miss.  I had some immaturity problems at that time and I ended up not going to Southern Miss.  I ended up going to Benedict College, which is a D-II program in South Carolina.  I played my freshman year and then I missed a season.  I left Benedict College and sat out a semester.  I went back to school after my mom passed away in 2013.  I joined Belhaven in the fall of 2013.   
Alex Khvatov:  Why did you choose Belhaven?
Darien Thomas:  Actually I stopped playing ball, and nobody was showing interest.  No one tried to help me.  My mom passed away, and it motivated me to get back on the field.  I hadn’t played ball since 2011-2012 season as a freshman. Belhaven looked me up and showed interest. 
Alex Khvatov:  Describe your career at Belhaven.  
Darien Thomas:  As a team, our record wasn’t so good.  We had a new head coach coming in and new players.  We didn’t have the chemistry.  We were trying to find an identity.  I wanted to be a leader on the team.  I was a vocal leader, and it is what the team needed.  I played in an offense under Hal Mumme.  I am the all-time leader in TD’s at the school.  I set the record for most TD’s at the school in a single game.  I am 4th all-time in career yards at the school.  I left my legacy there. 
Alex Khvatov:  What was the biggest thing that you learned under your head coach Hal Mumme?
Darien Thomas:  Bobby Blizzard was my WR’s coach.  He has been with Coach Mumme for a long time.  He has had a huge impact on my life.  He got invited to NFL coaching academy.  He is a great coach.  He helped me a great deal.  Coach Mumme challenged me mentally.  He prepared me for life.  He is a hard-nosed coach.  He helped me for those three years. 
Alex Khvatov:  What are your strengths?
Darien Thomas:  I have good ball skills and good speed.  I try to mold my game like Julio Jones.  I am 6’2 and 200.  I play physical and fast.  I am big and aggressive. 
Alex Khvatov:  What areas of your game are you trying to improve upon? 
Darien Thomas:  My whole game.  You can’t be complacent, so I am working on everything.      
Alex Khvatov:  Where are you currently training?
Darien Thomas:  I am training at home in Mobile, Alabama at Fitness Lab.    
Alex Khvatov:  How would you describe your experience at the 2017 Tropical Bowl all-star game? 
Darien Thomas:  The Tropical Bowl was a great experience.  I was coming from a small school.  I was the only D-III player there.  I proved that I belong with the best.
Alex Khvatov:  What is the biggest thing that you took away from that all-star weekend?
Darien Thomas:  I love competition.  It was great to go against the bigger school players.  I played on the bigger stage.  It felt good to be out there. 
Alex Khvatov:  What type of feedback did you receive from scouts?
Darien Thomas:  I talked to a lot of NFL teams and a few CFL teams.  I wasn’t on their board.  My extra effort stood out.  I showed that I could run.  Nobody really knew who I was.  I was able to make a name for myself. 
Alex Khvatov:  Tell me about your experience at the FCS Bowl. 
Darien Thomas:  That game was a lot of fun.  I played against a lot of FCS guys.  I dominated that game.  I flew around.  I had some good feedback and some interviews.  I caught a TD and a few catches in the game.  I made some big plays.  I helped myself.    
Alex Khvatov:  What is the highlight of your career up to this point? 
Darien Thomas:  The last game I played.  I had six catches for 120 yards and four TD’s against Howard Payne.  That was a highlight.  I left my mark.      
Alex Khvatov:  Who is your favorite NFL player? 
Darien Thomas:  Julio Jones.  I am a die-hard fan.  That is the first receiver I have seen on TV.      
Alex Khvatov:  What is the most important trait for a WR? 
Darien Thomas:  Be aggressive.  You have to have the motor.  I am a big effort guy.  You can’t coach effort. 
Alex Khvatov:  Where does that mentality in regards to effort come from?
Darien Thomas:  I grew up.  I was immature when I was younger.  I lost my mom and football.  It humbled me.  It made me grow up.  I became a better student, a better athlete and a better man.  The losses in my life helped me grow and mature.  I was misguided when I was younger.   
Alex Khvatov:  What players on your team should we keep an eye on for next season? 
Darien Thomas:  Our QB Hunter McEachern will be a sophomore next year.  He threw for a crazy number of yards.  He has a big-time arm.  He had a huge freshman year.  Jacob McNeill and Nolan Satcher are the receivers to watch next year.  A guy on defense is DB Maurice Stewart.    
Alex Khvatov:  Who is the best player that you have faced during your career?
Darien Thomas:  His name was Rob Porter from Jackson State.  He was a corner.    
Alex Khvatov:  What do you enjoy most about football? 
Darien Thomas:  It has been my lifestyle for so long.  I want to be able to provide for my family.  The game means everything to me. 
Alex Khvatov:  What are your hobbies? 
Darien Thomas:  Working out.  I have a daughter and a girlfriend who I love spending time with.
Alex Khvatov:  How has fatherhood affected your life?
Darien Thomas:  I became a father at age 17.  I had to grow up faster that most people.  I sacrificed a lot of things.  It made me grow up.  I had no choice.  I had responsibilities.  It helped me.  It made me a strong man.   
Alex Khvatov:  What do you want to do with your life after your football career is over? 
Darien Thomas:  I want to have my own business.  I also want to give back to the community.    
Alex Khvatov:  What is the biggest life lesson that you have learned thus far?
Darien Thomas:  Take advantage of every day.  There are not too many tomorrows.      
Alex Khvatov:  Finish the sentence, Darien Thomas is….
Darien Thomas:  An underrated NFL prospect.  I am hard working and ambitious.    

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