San Diego State Football: Cameron Thomas Is MWwire’s 2021 Defensive Player Of The Year
The Aztecs defense has reached new heights. No one’s been better than Cameron Thomas, our pick as the Mountain West’s top defender.
The new top Aztec in a long line.
Mountain West Wire’s 2021 postseason honors:
All-Conference Teams | Offensive Player of the Year | Defensive Player of the Year | Special Teams Player of the Year | Freshman of the Year | Newcomer of the Year | Coach of the Year | Coordinator of the Year
The San Diego State Aztecs’ recent run of successes has been built in large part on its tough-nosed defense. They’ve managed to reach new heights in a lot of respects this season in that regard, but there’s no doubt that defensive end Cameron Thomas, our staff’s pick as the Mountain West’s defensive player of the year, has been the tip of the spear.
Coming into 2021, it was no secret that Thomas was already one of the conference’s best players with a Freshman All-American campaign and a pair of appearances on the all-conference first team. Somehow, he’s found ways to improve his game and become one of the most feared defenders anywhere in the country, full stop, with 66 tackles, 10.5 sacks, and 20 tackles for loss. According to Pro Football Focus, Thomas’s 90.6 grade ranks fourth among qualifying FBS edge defenders, in company with other luminaries like Michigan’s Aiden Hutchinson and Kentucky’s Josh Paschal.
While it’s tempting to say that the Aztecs will find a way to replace Thomas if he departs — he’s already being projected as a first-round selection in next year’s NFL Draft — this might actually be the time that it becomes difficult for San Diego State to do so. That’s just how good Thomas has been.
It’s getting silly with how versatile and explosive #SDSU DL Cameron Thomas is at the POA. He’s won 1 on 1 against guards and tackles in this game, and Boise has no answer for him. https://t.co/gZu1mbeJfq pic.twitter.com/BwgGcXVusv
— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) November 26, 2021
Also received votes: Khoury Bethley, safety, Hawaii; Kyle Harmon, linebacker, San Jose State; Chad Muma, linebacker, Wyoming