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The Cardinal Countdown: 32 Days Until Kickoff

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North Carolina State v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

#32 Stacy Thomas

Class: RS Senior

Ht/Wt: 6-1/242

Position: Linebacker

Hometown: Miami, FL

Twitter: @diospimero32

Thoughts: Day 32, covering one of the most important players on the squad this year, Blanton Creque. His post is below, but first we’ll cover Stacy Thomas. (Just joking Stacy)

I’ve been a huge fan of Thomas for years now, you can go back and read the last couple years countdown posts on him to see just how big I was on him back when he was just a special teams player. Stacy stepped into a complimentary role a couple years ago and then took on the challenge last season as a starter. To call his transition a success would be an understatement. Finishing 2nd on the team in tackles, Top 5 in tackles for loss, and never once making me want to scream at the TV the entire season (should be an official stat) Thomas was one of the most reliable linebackers not only on the team, but in the country. Pro Football Focus recently graded out the returning linebackers in the ACC and you can take one guess as to who came in at Number 1? It was Thomas, come on, try and keep up.

Losing Keith Kelsey is never going to easy, and missing JHC from the outside will be tough, but getting Young back and seeing Hearns get back to his old self on the outside will be a big help for Thomas up the middle. While likely to be accompanied by a new body next to him Sirmon will rely on Thomas to carry a little bit more of the load early on, not only on the field, but off it. Not a single doubt in my mind he can.

Sweet Tweet:

The best season for you statistically?

The best team record since you’ve been here?

The best bowl win/wins since you’ve been here?

Yes.Yes.Yes. I’ll take all three if you’re asking.

***

#32 Blanton Creque

Class: RS Sophomore

Ht/Wt: 5-11/188

Position: Kicker

Hometown: Shelbyville, KY

Twitter: @Bcreque_19

Thoughts: Even though I tout special teams more than any other person I know, I spoke at length last year about Blanton Creque during the whole countdown, to the point that by the time I got to his actual countdown post I was tired of talking about him. I kept saying he would win the kicker battle, he would be a solid threat for the Cards moving forward, and he will join the long line of kickers that Louisville could rely on in the clutch for the next three to four years. So far so good on my predictions.

In 2016 Creque did in fact win the starting kicker position and finished the season 16 for 19 with a career long 47 yard field goal going into the half in the Citrus Bowl.

(you can stop watching after that…seriously…just stop)

Creque finished 21st in the nation in field goal efficiency last year and was 39 of 40 in extra point attempts. That accuracy helped place him on the preseason watch list for the Art Carmody Lou Groza Award and tagged as one of the best kickers in the ACC. While those acknowledgements are nice, the best acknowledgement was awarded a few weeks back when Petrino announced that Creque had been awarded a full scholarship for his contributions. I told you all a few days ago that I still think O’Hara will help share some of the extra point duties this year, considering that if Creque had attempted all 69 (40 from him, 29 from O’Hara) extra points last year he would have lead the country in extra point attempts. Lots of touchdowns means lots of attempts, and Petrino needs to keep that Creque leg fresh.

I’m really looking forward to watching Blanton the next few seasons, winning a few awards, kicking a few game winners, and then, maybe….another Creque will follow him at kicker?!?!

Sweet Tweet:

Blanton became a social media hit after responding to the video of him getting blown up doing his job and stopping a LSU touchdown in the bowl game. I love the effort, I love the attitude, and I love the tweet , but I told this kid over two years ago back in 2015 in this very same ‘sweet tweet’ segment…