football Edit

Sophomore CB Thomas Graham has elevated his game for 2018

Thomas Graham Jr. is only a sophomore, but he is still the most experienced cornerback the Ducks have got. After starting 12 games as a true freshman, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Rancho Cucamonga product is heading into the 2018 campaign with a humble swagger.

As one of the few veteran leaders of the group, he has identified what the defensive back unit needs to do to get better, and it stems from a being a unit comprised largely of youth.

A.J. Jacobson

“We need to stay consistent with our technique,” assessed Graham Jr. “We lack maturity just looking at it in black and white. That is what I feel we lack is consistency. We have a lot of depth now adding Jevon Holland, Steve Stephens, Nick Pickett coming back, Brady Breeze coming back. With the corners with Kahlef, adding Haki and Verone McKinley.”

All of the new faces on the roster were highly rated out of high school, just like Graham was in the class of 2017, a member of the prestigious Rivals250 as the No. 127-overall prospect in the nation. And despite starting for an entire season aside from Game One, he felt he had to pick up his level of play because of the newcomers.

“I felt a lot of pressure,” admitted Graham Jr. “At points in time, definitely this spring, I had a slow start. I started spring ball not where I wanted to. After the first five practices I went home and told my dad ‘we have got to step it up.’ So at home I was working out two times a day, and I came back and felt I was a little better than where I came in at and then just progressed from there.”

Graham has elevated his game greatly this season if our partners at Pro Football Focus are to be believed. They had him rated in the ‘C-’ range for pass coverage for his freshman year. This season through the first two contests, they have him around the B+ level.

Talking to him this year, you can sense his confidence has grown. Listen in on our interview from Tuesday of San Jose State week.