LLOYD Brecken Thomas has impressed audiences with his acting ability, but he keeps getting rave reviews with his play on the gridiron.
The Greenup County senior has set the stage for an eventful final season in the green and gold. He made the transition from the backfield to tight end last year that added another dimension to the Musketeers’ offense.
Coach Scott Grizzle calls Thomas “one of the most competitive kids that I have coached.” The demeanor is different off the field, but when it’s time to go to work, it’s his passion for the game that sets him apart.
“You don’t get that when you meet him off the field,” Grizzle said. “He is a really laid-back guy. He has a great personality. He is a guy that the young kids want to be like. That is how Brecken is. But when he puts that helmet on, he is a fierce competitor and plays every snap full speed. He loves to play the game of football.”
Thomas admits he wasn’t always that way. It took some time to build that fire that fuels his play between the lines. He doubts anything could extinguish it now.
“I have been working on it,” Thomas said. “I really worked on flipping that mental switch. It’s something I’ve had to improve because when I was younger, I was laid-back on the field too, believe it or not. I’m constantly working on that drive-forward mentality. I flip that switch and let’s go.”
Thomas caught 37 balls for 483 yards last season. He tied fellow senior Patrick Kelly for team leader in touchdown receptions with seven.
In his final campaign at Greenup County, Thomas is involved in all aspects of the team’s preparation for Friday night. He wants to be the Musketeers’ biggest motivator.
“I feel like I need to push my teammates as much as I can,” Thomas said, “get them amped up for everything we do. When it comes to practice, watching film, games or whatever, I am going to be that guy. I want to be that dude to pump everybody up.”
“He is one of the guys that everybody looks up to,” Grizzle added. “He is going to set the tone at practice every day. And with Breck, his teammates respect him enough that he is going to hold them accountable. If they aren’t getting the job done, he can tell them, and they will respond well to that. He is respected at the school, in the community and with our coaches and players.”
Thomas started as a running back in former coach Chris Mullins’ system. Once Grizzle arrived in 2016 and established his own game plan, he knew Thomas’ physical nature would be a better fit elsewhere.
“I think it was more the change in offense from what they were doing previously to what we do,” Grizzle said. “He was more a fullback type for them. As he continued to grow and get a little taller, we saw his role as tight end and wide receiver. Last year, we found some success. He got matched up with some corners. He is a really tough matchup. He caught several deep balls in one-on-one situations.”
The physicality is what drew Thomas to his new role last year. He is also a starting linebacker, and his skill set makes him successful at both.
“I was drawn to the (tight end) position by incredible players like Rob Gronkowski,” Thomas said. “Players like that are able to be physical up front. They keep the pressure on, and then go out and make a great play on the ball. It’s always been one of my favorite positions. I’ve gained some weight and gotten a lot stronger. My hands are a lot better from my freshman and sophomore year. My overall ability has gotten better as a player.”
Thomas prefers defense. He had four takeaways in 2017 and took an interception back for a touchdown. Junior QB Eli Sammons still prefers Thomas as a valuable option on offense.
“He is a very reliable guy,” Sammons said. “Knowing I can get him the ball and he can make a play with it means everything as a quarterback.”
Thomas packs as many extracurricular activities as he can into his busy schedule. He is a forward on the basketball team and has developed a love of acting after some coaxing from his classmates.
“I’ve had a lot of friends that have come to me and said you would be good at acting,” Thomas said. “I tried it and I liked it. It’s something that has stuck with me. I haven’t been able to do as much this year as I have wanted to, trying to fit everything in because it’s my senior year. This year would be a good time to do more acting.
“I did drama club, student council and Beta Club. You name it, and I’ve probably done it.”
Greenup County is looking for its third consecutive winning season. Grizzle said Thomas’ devotion to the team will be key in reaching that goal.
“He is one of the most unselfish guys on the team,” Grizzle said. “He is the type of guy that will put his hand on the ground and block, tackle or go catch a touchdown pass. It doesn’t matter to him. He just wants the Musketeers to be great. He will do whatever it takes to get us there.”