By Kaileigh Krupp, '18
Though just a month and a half into his career at Albion College, quarterback Kyle Thomas, '21, has created a buzz when the Britons have the football.
The Walled Lake Western product arrived at Albion as a transfer from the University of Findlay, a Division II institution in northwest Ohio.
In the first three weeks of the season, Thomas has thrown for 671 yards and five touchdowns and added 241 yards and two scores on the ground. And his confidence seems to be growing. Exhibit A was presented Sept. 16 when he completed 77 percent of his passes for 344 yards and two touchdowns and running for 62 yards, including a 15-yard score, in the Britons 79-7 victory over Concordia (Wis.) University.
"It is difficult at any position to come in and play as a freshman," Steve Wasil, '06, the Britons quarterback coach who was named the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association's Offensive Most Valuable Player after throwing for 3,113 yards and 33 TDs as the Britons captured the league championship in 2005, said. "One thing Kyle had going for him was he ran a similar offense in high school at Walled Lake Western. The big ticket for him was learning our terminology and specific reads he would have to make while running our offense.
"He has done a great job of putting in time off the field watching film and learning the nuances of our offense. To me, the biggest difference between his performance in the first couple of games and the week three game was developing timing and trust with the other offensive players. He was new to all of our players and they are all new to him - so trusting one another was a huge factor that is developed with each rep in practice and more importantly, the games."
Division III is unique in that it allows student-athletes to follow their passions and develop their potential within an approach that combines rigorous academics and competitive sports. Thomas, who was a redshirt at Findlay, decided to transfer to Albion just a week before the Britons reported for training camp Aug. 8. That presented him with less than a month to complete the orientation to the Briton football program and earn the job as the starting quarterback prior to the Sept. 2 opener at Wabash (Ind.) College.
"I continued to train in the spring at Findlay, and was down there in the summer training with them as well," Thomas said.
"Learning the plays takes time and I have been doing extra stuff outside of practice to try to catch up on the plays," he added. "I am thankful to the coaches and the team for being patient with me while I'm still learning."
Football, simply put, is a passion in the Thomas family. His father and older brother played at the collegiate level and his younger brother is currently playing at Walled Lake Western High School.
That passion, along with an extensive knowledge of the game, has helped Thomas make the transition to Albion and the Britons are eager to find out how his career plays out.
"Kyle Thomas is a dynamic athlete who is able to threaten a defense running or throwing the ball," Head Coach Craig Rundle said. "His ability to extend plays creates headaches for opposing defenders. Kyle plays with energy and passion and that is contagious to those around him, he elevates the play of the others on the team."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kaileigh Krupp, a senior at Albion, is an exercise science major from Mason, Mich.
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