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RB Malachi Thomas Feeling Stronger In Better Fitting Offense at Virginia Tech

Malachi Thomas Kaden Moore 1 Fall Camp 2022 From VT

Malachi Thomas was under-the-radar compared to other true freshman running backs when he arrived in Blacksburg last offseason. However, it didn't take long for the talent runner from Georgia to make his mark on the Hokies and make it clear that he was going to be a major presence for a while.

After getting only 11 carries during the first half of the season, Thomas broke out when given his chance against Syracuse with 21 carries for 151 yards and 3 touchdowns before following that with 101 rushing yards at Georgia Tech the next week. He finished the season with 447 rushing yards including a solid average of 4.7 yards per carry in what was a solid start to a career that may make him the next man to break 1,000 rushing yards in a season for the Hokies.

With his first season in the books, Thomas has now had a full offseason to truly begin transforming himself physically. Though it's been a challenge, he's feeling good about the staff that he's working with to improve physically.

"It's been challenging. I'm just trying to get bigger, stronger, faster. We got a great strength & conditioning staff here, and I'm sure they're going to help me get where I want to be," Thomas said.

Thomas shared some about where his current weight is at early in fall camp.

"I feel pretty good. I'm at a good weight right now. I'm kind of averaging around 203 for fall camp right now so I'm happy about that," Thomas said.

So how does that compare to where Thomas was as a freshman last year in terms of the on-field side of it and not just the exact weight?

"It compares tremendously because when I got here last year, I was only like 190. I played at 197 which I gained a little weight, but I had also lost and I noticed you kind of got to have size up here in the big leagues because you got to take care of your body, and I got to take all these tough hits," Thomas said.

"I can totally feel the difference. Whenever I feel contact, I notice I'm able to stand up and not just go down (this year)."

Of course, the physical side of things isn't the only change for Thomas as he has also had to learn a new offense going from Justin Fuente's scheme to new offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen's scheme.

Though Thomas had praise for both offenses, he personally feels that the new Bowen offense is a better fit for him.

"Both of them were pretty good offenses, but I feel like this one fits me more because I feel like it's just like my offense from back in high school," Thomas said.

So what are the similarities between what Thomas ran in high school, and what Bowen and the offensive staff are running in Blacksburg?

"Just the inside zones, the RPOs, and things of that nature, the footwork, and the way how they operate things," Thomas said.

Looking ahead, Thomas remains the likely bellcow back with Jalen Holston and Keshawn King poised to be the supplemental pieces. That shouldn't come as a surprise given the production that Thomas showed last year.

Now the question is how will Thomas follow his solid opening act to his collegiate career? Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if a stronger Thomas playing in a better fitting offense becomes VT's first non-transfer RB to break 1,000 rushing yards in a season since Travon McMillian in 2015.

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