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2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Khalid Thomas, DB, Harvard/Samford University

Khalid Thomas the standout defensive back from Samford University who transferred from Harvard recently sat down with Draft Diamonds.
Khalid Thomas the standout defensive back from Samford University who transferred from Harvard recently sat down with Draft Diamonds scout Justin Berendzen.
  • Name: Khalid Thomas
  • Position: DB
  • College: Harvard University/Samford University
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 205 lbs
  • Twitter: @khalidthomas_
  • Instagram: @khalid_thomas

What made you decide you wanted to be a football player?

I’ve always loved football. I played a few different sports growing up, but I’ve always wanted to play football in the fall. It’s one of those things in life that asks you to bring your best self every time you show up, and I really embrace that challenge and try to play at a high level every time I step on the field. I want to compete against some the best athletes in the world, and football gives me that opportunity.

What are you looking to achieve as a football player going forward?

I want to earn a chance to play in the NFL, and I want to help my team win championships. I’m the type of guy to emphasize putting the work in and maximizing opportunities in the process along the way, so I’ve made some more short term goals for myself along the way. But at the end of the day, I want to earn the right to play against the best and I want to help my team achieve success.

If you could hang out with any football player past or present for a day who and why?

Dewayne Washington. I’ve known him for a while and actually used to train with him a long time ago when I was starting high school football. I remember he was always real technical about his craft, but at the same time he still seemed to enjoy playing the game of football. That’s the type of guy that’ll give you good perspective if you spend enough time and you’re tapped in to what he’s doing. He’s actually one of the big reasons I committed to Harvard out of high school. I don’t think I ever mentioned that to him, but that’d be my choice.

What are your favorite moments from your football life?

Playing college football gives you a lot of chances to create some cool memories. The game Harvard-Yale is always an amazing atmosphere, so that’s definitely high on the list. We played at Fenway Park in Boston my freshman year and won, and I still get chills thinking about the moment when the clock hit zero. The conference championship and playoff run this year with Samford was great too. It was inspiring to see Coach Hatcher get those moments of celebration we all work to hard to reach, and it was fulfilling to know that the guys came together to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. I’ve had a lot of really good games in my career, and a lot of plays where I felt I was really dominant. But those were two moments where I saw the work we put in as a collective pay off, and that’s what I’ll appreciate the most.

Which one of your family members inspires you the most and why?

My mom is a huge inspiration for me. She’s been to almost all of my games, and she’s shown love and support to everyone around her whenever she can. I’ve always appreciated the sacrifices she made for me, and she inspires me to treat people with respect and love while acting with integrity. She’s smart, ambitious, talented, and kind, and those are traits I try to exemplify in myself. I think my family would agree that she’s an inspiration to us all.

What is your favorite defensive scheme and why?

I’ve played in a lot of different types of defenses so it’s hard to choose a favorite. I can see the benefit of all of them, and when it comes down to it I’ll play whatever puts us in the best position to win. I’ve played man free with 6 DBs on the field, and I’ve played a hard flat 3 shell 6 D Lineman in the game. Personally, I believe that great defenses emphasize stopping the run and being efficient. Whatever it takes to win, I’m in. I play fast, physical, and relentless in any defense.

What should we know about Khalid Thomas the person?

As a person, I hold myself to a high standard. I take pride in being diligent and efficient, and I appreciate when others hold me to that standard. I’m a hard worker, and I constantly set goals in order to stay focused.

I feel strongly about my faith, and I trust that when people come together and believe together they can achieve whatever they’ve set out to do. I’m passionate about creating and building, and I spend a lot of my free time outside of football playing music, reading, and learning. I feel like that’s a tough question to answer, but I do enjoy getting to know people and sharing things about myself.

Khalid Thomas the standout defensive back from Samford University who transferred from Harvard recently sat down with Draft Diamonds.
Khalid Thomas the standout defensive back from Samford University who transferred from Harvard recently sat down with Draft Diamonds. (Photo Credit: Dylan Goodman Photography)

What stands out about your film the most?

My size, strength, and speed definitely are focal points. I can match up with anybody on the field athletically. My instinct and knowledge set me apart. I’m always a reliable guy, and when there’s an opportunity to make a big time play I’m there.

How do you handle challenges both in life and on the football field?

I believe that challenges are opportunities for growth, both on and off the football field. When faced with a difficult situation, I try to stay positive and focus on finding a solution. Whether it’s studying film to improve my technique or working with a trainer to develop my skill set, I’m always looking for ways to improve.

In my personal life, I’ve faced challenges like balancing school and football. These experiences have taught me to be adaptable, patient, and persistent. On the field, I know that mistakes can happen, but I’m always looking to learn from them and make adjustments. I learn quickly, and adapt to avoid making the same mistake twice. I’m confident that my ability to handle challenges will translate well to the NFL, and I’m excited for the opportunity to prove myself at the next level.

What would a team get in a player like you?

They’re getting a guy who is ready to go day one, who is gonna compete at the the highest level against the best every day, and who is going to learn and adapt to help the team be successful.

On the field, I bring a competitive spirit and a team-first mentality. I’m versatile and can play multiple positions, which allows me to contribute in different ways depending on the team’s needs. I also have excellent communication skills, which are crucial for building strong relationships with my teammates and coaches.

Off the field, I’m committed to being a positive role model and representing the team and the community with integrity. I believe that a successful team is made up of individuals who are not only skilled players but also great people, and I strive to embody both of those qualities. Overall, a team would get a dedicated, hardworking player who is committed to helping the team succeed in any way possible.

What do you love the most about the game of football?

I love playing football and the preparation it takes to show up on a Saturday in the fall and get a win as a team, but I’ve really grown to appreciate the opportunities football provides so many young people. A lot of my friends have used football as a platform to speak out against injustices or to create change, and that’s something that’s hard to find in another industry. Football allows us to showcase our talent and physical abilities while also being mindful of the people who watch us play, and I plan to continue to use football as an avenue to strengthen my community.

Who is the most underrated player you’ve played with and why?

That’s a great question. I’d say Daniel Abraham. He came into Harvard in the same class of 2022 and started out as a RB. We had a lot of talent at the position and he got off to a slower start than he probably thought he would. He’s at Villanova now playing defense, and I’d really expect him to be one of the best LB/DB in the country next year.

He’s a crazy athlete too. Runs better than a lot of skill players I’ve played with, and lifts more than a lot of the bigger guys too. Off the field he’s a guy you want to root for in every situation. He’s got a day named after him in his hometown Randolph, Mass.


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