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#5 Benard Thomas
Position: Defensive End
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 270
Year: Senior
City/State: East Palo Alto, Calif.
High School: St. Francis

2004 (Senior)
Benard Thomas, a two-year starter at defensive end for the Huskers, was the Blackshirts’ most experienced pass rusher in 2004. He was the only senior among the top two units on the defensive line last season.

Nebraska’s most effective pass rush presence last season, Thomas made big strides between his junior and senior campaigns. He led NU in sacks, while ranking second in hurries and tackles for loss, one season after registering only one sack from his right defensive end position. Thomas had his brightest day against Missouri, when he totaled seven tackles, 1.5 sacks and three tackles for loss. He tallied a Husker season-high five hurries and caused his second career interception in Nebraska’s road win at Pittsburgh. A key component of a unit that ranked second in the Big 12 Conference in rush defense while allowing only 104.0 yards/game, Thomas notched 38 tackles in 11 games, including 10 starts.

Thomas earned a starting defensive end spot during 2003 spring practice and played in all 13 games with 10 starts. He finished the season with a career-best 42 tackles, including 18 solo stops. He had five tackles for loss, including two for 17 yards against Texas A&M, when he recorded a seven-yard sack. Thomas also forced a fumble in the game, part of Nebraska's school-record eight takeaways against the Aggies.

Thomas tied for second on the team in quarterback hurries with 11 pressures. He had two hurries in each of Nebraska's first two games, and capped the regular season with a career-high three hurries at Colorado. He also had a pair of pass breakups against the Buffs and made a tackle for loss.

An East Palo Alto, Calif., native, Thomas chose to sit out the 2002 season as a redshirt one season after playing in 10 games as a reserve left rush end, primarily in pass-rushing situations. He recorded five tackles for loss (29 yards) in 2001, including a 24-yard sack of Iowa State’s Seneca Wallace. Thomas had three tackles at Baylor, including two tackles for loss, and added a quarterback hurry against the Bears. He did not play in the Rose Bowl.

Thomas was one of four true freshmen to play for the Huskers in 2000, appearing in six games. He recorded two tackles, including a five-yard TFL against Kansas. He also saw action in the 2000 Alamo Bowl.

He graduated in May of 2005 with a degree in communication studies.

2003 (Junior)
Thomas earned a starting defensive end spot during spring practice and played in all 13 games with 10 starts. He finished the season with 42 tackles, including 18 solo stops. He had five tackles for loss, including two for 17 yards against Texas A&M, when he recorded a seven-yard sack. Thomas also forced a fumble in the game, part of Nebraska's school-record eight takeaways against the Aggies.

Thomas tied for second on the team in quarterback hurries with 11 pressures. He had two hurries in each of Nebraska's first two games, and capped the regular season with a career-high three hurries at Colorado. He also had a pair of pass breakups against the Buffs and made a tackle for loss. Thomas had a career-best seven tackles in Nebraska's 38-14 victory over Southern Miss, then matched that total with seven stops against Kansas State. He made five tackles each against Troy State and Missouri.

2002 (Redshirt)
Thomas chose to sit out the season as a redshirt.

2001 (Sophomore)
Thomas played in 10 games as a reserve left rush end, primarily in pass-rushing situations, and made seven tackles. He recorded five tackles for loss (29 yards), including a 24-yard sack of Iowa State’s Seneca Wallace. Thomas had three tackles at Baylor, including two tackles for loss, and added a quarterback hurry against the Bears. He did not play in the Rose Bowl.

2000 (Freshman)
Thomas sat out the first two games, then decided not to redshirt and played in six contests at rush end. He was one of four true freshmen to play for the Huskers in 2000, and made two tackles, including a five-yard tackle for loss against Kansas. He saw action in the 2000 Alamo Bowl.

Before Nebraska (St. Francis HS)
Thomas played both linebacker and fullback for Coach Mike Mitchell at St. Francis High School in Mountain View, Calif. As a senior, he was a SuperPrep All-American, recording 90 tackles and six sacks on defense, while adding 430 yards rushing. He was selected to play in the California/Texas Shrine game. Thomas, who also ran track in high school, selected Nebraska over USC and Arizona.

Personal
The son of Valerie Robinson, Benard was born on April 10, 1981, in East Palo Alto, Calif. He was raised by his mother in San Antonio, Texas, before moving back to East Palo Alto to live with his aunt and uncle, Lecia and Jackey Wilson, while attending St. Francis High School. Thomas has volunteered his time with Team Spirit Hospital visitations. A communication studies major at Nebraska, Thomas earned his bachelor's degree in May of 2005.

Thomas' Career Statistics

.

.

Tackles

.

.

Fum.

.

.

.

QB

Int.

Year

G/S

UT

AT

TT

TFL

Sacks

C-R

BK

PBU

PI

Hry.

Csd.

2000

6/0

1

1

2

1-5

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

1

0

2001

10/0

3

4

7

5-29

1-24

0-0

0

0

0

1

1

2002

Redshirt

2003

13/10

18

24

42

5-24

1-7

1-1

0

4

0

11

0

2004

11/10

16

22

38

11-41

4-35

1-0

0

1

0

15

1

Totals

40/20

38

51

89

22-99

6-66

2-1

0

5

0

28

2

2000 Alamo Bowl vs. Northwestern: Tackles, none
2003 Alamo Bowl vs. Michigan State: Tackles, 1 UT, 0 AT, 1 TT, 1 QB Hurry

Single-Game Bests:
Tackles- 7 at Southern Miss, 2003; vs. Kansas State, 2003; vs. Missouri, 2004

Solo Tackles- 3, Four times
Tackles for Loss- 3-16 vs. Missouri, 2004
Sacks- 1.5-16 vs. Missouri, 2004

Quarterback Hurries- 5
at Pittsburgh, 2004
Passes Broken Up- 2 at Colorado, 2003

 

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