This past season David Thurston, a 6-0 215 pound middle linebacker, was his leagues defensive player of the year on a squad that made the semifinals in Colorado 5A football. Thurston will cap his season and high school career with multiple All-State selections. David's younger brother Paul, a 6-4 250 sophomore offensive tackle is already a two year starter and is a player to watch in Colorado.
This season, Thurston registered over 160 tackles on a defense that allowed just over 10 points a game.
I won't tell you what I said, but the first hit a saw David make nearly took off the ball carriers head making blast out an expletive. This kid plays middle backer the way the position is supposed to be played. As an old linebacker coach I wish I could have gotten my kids to play with Thurston's combination of technique, motor and nasty.
Thurston plays with great pad level, never getting two tall, allowing him to take on blockers when necessary, rarely letting hands get on him and allowing him to uncoil at the point of impact. Thurston, a very strong student and exceptionally smart ball player, reads and diagnoses plays quickly. There is no hopping, peaking, missteps or bad reads from his spot. This allows him to get downhill ASAP, limiting yards, beating blocks and making plays at the line of scrimmage.
Thurston's sound technical skills and coachablity are enhanced by his aggressive style on the field. From sideline to sideline, Thurston hustles to run down every play. In passing situations Thurston often gets a piece of the tackle 20 yards down the field and away from his own drop zone. Wherever he makes the tackle Thurston gets there angry looking to make someone pay for any yardage. Thurston is fun to watch play.
Thurston is an old school mike backer. I could be wrong, but I do not see a move to the edge at the next level. His game is between the tackles, using his above mentioned skills to shut down the run. Due to this fact, his size comes into play. Thurston is right at the 6-0 barrier and at 215, this makes him small for the middle. Due to this, DIs most likely will shy away. An area where Thurston could improve is straight line speed. Not slow, but he will need to get a little faster at the next level.
Due to Thurston's ability to read quickly, his good lateral movement and his high motor, I have no doubt that he could play at the subdivision level or excel at the DII level. Thurston, who is home schooled, scored a 31 on his ACT thus making him a candidate as a player and student for the Ivy League. Coachable, competitive, a little nasty on the field and great in the classroom, Thurston is the type of player that coaches want in their program.