NFL Draft Q&A: WR Demaryius Thomas

Despite playing in a run-oriented offense, Demaryius Thomas racked-up over 1,000 receiving yards of receiving in 2009 at Georgia Tech. Find out how he became a big-play threat, the outlook on his recent foot injury--and much more in this exclusive interview with Scout.com's Ed Thompson.

Ed Thompson: In 2009 you had over 1,000 yards receiving, 25.1 yards per catch, and 121.5 yards per game. Talk about what you did during your Georgia Tech career to become such a big-play threat.

Demaryius Thomas: It was mainly working hard everyday, watching film, and having a connection with my quarterback by staying after practice.  In a wishbone [offense] you don't throw that much, so if you do a little work after practice it adds up.

Thompson: You showed a real knack for finding open spots in zone defenses and for getting open deep.

Thomas: We had a route that you can take it deep or if [the defensive back] is off, you sit down. So we basically just read man-to-man.  On the deep ball, I just take it deep and make a play on the ball.  Anytime the quarterback threw the ball I wanted to make a play on it because I never knew if I might get another chance, so I had to take advantage of what I was given.

Thompson: How tough of a decision was it to come out as a junior?

Thomas: I sat down with my family and coach and talked about how my year went and then sent the papers in.  That helped out a lot--I made my mind up off of that.

Thompson: Talk about your family and growing up. How did you catch your passion for football?


Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Thomas: When I was a little boy and I stayed with my mother--before she went to prison--we always talked about whether I would go pro in football or basketball.  She stayed on me about that when she was here and while she was in prison.  While she was in prison, I stayed with my uncle and my aunt.  My uncle took me in, he was a good guy. He got me going to church and had curfews for me.  That helped out a lot and I stayed out of trouble. We went to church and worked hard.  And now I finally have a chance to go to the next level.

Thompson: How old were you when your mother went to prison?

Thomas: I was in the 5th grade, so maybe twelve or thirteen.

Thompson: Why was she sent there--and for how long?

Thomas: In 2000. My grandmother was selling drugs and my mother was helping out, just keeping the money.  My mother was questioned and she never told, so they gave her a 20-year sentence and my grandmother got a 40-year sentence. Basically, she kept what she knew to herself and they gave her 20 years for that.

Thompson: How did you deal with that at that age?

Thomas: It was tough.  I cried every night for my mother and grandmother. I was staying with my step-daddy too, because my daddy was in the army.  I tried to stay positive. I had my sisters, so they stayed positive and told me everything would be alright.  We used to go see my mother and she'd tell us to stay positive and work hard and it would pay off.

Thompson:You talked about becoming more regimented in your teenage years. How did that benefit you during your time at Georgia Tech?

Thomas: I always went out with an attitude of never quit and always respected my elders.  When I moved in with my aunt, I got good grades and started playing football to stay out of trouble.  I didn't know I was that good at football until a scout was sent from Tech.  One of the main reasons I went to Tech was my dad finally came back from Kuwait and I wanted to be around him so I was close to my family. 

Thompson: How do you think you progressed as a receiver as a result of the coaching you received at Georgia Tech?


AP/Sara D. Davis

Thomas: My first year I met Calvin Johnson and Coach Buddy Geis.  I knew Calvin was a good player--I watched what he did on the field and off of the field and tried to do what he did, and Coach Geis helped me during the time he was there.  Then Coach Johnson came in. He was a really good coach. I tried to talk to him every day and he showed me some things I needed to work on--as did Coach Buzz Preston, my other receivers coach--and I did those things and was successful.

Thompson: Talk about your foot injury and how you've been dealing with it so far.

Thomas: I was working out, just doing the normal stuff for the Combine--the L-drill, 5-10-5, the 40, all of that. I was coming around the last cone in the L-drill and I had all of my weight on my inside foot to go around the cone and I felt it pop.  I didn't know what it was, but the next day I found out I had a fractured bone in my foot.  It's another level of my life that I have to look over. I'll be praying about it, and hopefully I'll be alright.  I've been rehabbing a lot and trying to figure out if I need surgery or not.

Thompson: At this point in time, do you have a projected time frame for when you'll be back or are you just taking it one day at a time right now?

Thomas: Right now, one day at a time.  I don't have any certainty yet, but I plan on trying to get some this week.  If I'd be able to get back in four to six weeks I would love to show some scouts that I can run and run routes, but I'm not going to rush it because I don't want to hurt anything.

Thompson: As you have an opportunity to talk to NFL head coaches at the Combine, what is it you want them to know about you as a player and a person?

Thomas: That I go out and whether it's a practice, game, the weight room--whatever it is--I give it all that I've got. I work hard, I don't get into trouble, I'm a humble guy, I get along with everybody, I respect everybody. And I always come ready to work.  Whoever I play for, I will give them all that I've got.

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You can follow Ed Thompson on Twitter (@Ed_Thompson). A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com.

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