Q&A With Zac Thomas: Appalachian State Career, NFL Draft Preparation, Proving Critics Wrong

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Zac Thomas has been flying under the radar throughout this draft process, but that’s nothing new for the Appalachian State quarterback.

During his college career, Thomas completed 63.0 percent of his passes for 6,979 yards, 69 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. Additionally, he had 1,301 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground. As a result, he cracked Appalachian State’s top five for a handful of statistical categories.

While there are still certain areas of his game that need to improve, Thomas’ dual-threat capabilities make him an intriguing prospect.

At his pro day, Thomas ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds and made plenty of solid throws in front of NFL scouts. It was a reminder to coaches and general managers that he has what it takes to be in the NFL.

We sat down with Zac Thomas to discuss his career at Appalachian State, the progress he’s made during this draft process, what he wants to prove in the NFL and much more.

The Spun: I noticed you’ve been getting a lot of work in with your quarterback coach, Tony Racioppi. What has that been like? 

Zac Thomas: It’s been a great experience. At this point in your career, you have one goal in your mind and that’s to get better with your fundamentals. When I got there with Tony, we made a list of things I needed to work on and how I needed to go about those things to get better. The first couple of weeks were frustrating just because not everything was clicking like I wanted it to be, but things turned around and I performed very well at my pro day. 

The Spun: What’d you make of your 40 time at your pro day?

ZT: The 40-yard dash went well. I knew I was going to run fast, so I was pleased with that. I thought throwing went really well. Everything was clicking and I got into a rhythm. When it came down to throwing, I started dialing up good throws – it was promising to see. A lot of teams told me I did well after my pro day was over, so I really appreciated that. 

The Spun: What would you say is your go-to throw? 

ZT: I’d say the best throw I can make is the comeback. That’s something I’ve always thrown well. That and the skinny post are my go-to throws. 

The Spun: What was your favorite moment from your career at Appalachian State?

ZT: I’d say it was the Penn State game. That was my first start, so there were a lot of nerves going through my body. The coaches had to put a lot of trust in me and what not, and I felt like I proved myself to my coaches and teammates. I stepped up to the challenge and did the best I could. It was a defining moment from my career.

The Spun: You were 32-6 as the starter for App State. What do you think that says about you?

ZT: I think it all it says is I’m a competitor. I felt overlooked coming out of high school, but when you get to college it’s an even playing field. I showed that I can compete, I’m tough and I can have a successful career. 

The Spun: How have your NFL interviews gone?

ZT: It’s been fun. This has been a childhood dream of mine. I’m trying to take everything in stride. I wish I was getting a bit more recognition because I feel like I’m good enough and the potential to be in this league. But I’ve accepted it and I know what I bring to the table. If someone gives me the opportunity to perform, that’s all I can ask for. 

The Spun: Who are your favorite quarterbacks to study on tape?

ZT: I think you see the mobile quarterbacks and what they can do, like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen. They just make the game so fun with the way they throw the ball and the swagger they bring to the table. When you turn on the film and see how they perform, that’s who you strive to be. 

The Spun: Do you believe it’s time to stop judging quarterbacks based on their school? After all, we’ve seen guys from smaller schools shine at the next level. 

ZT: I think you hit the nail on the head. At the end of the day, the big dogs will always be looked at as the alphas. We’re all playing the same game though, and if you can play, you can play. NFL teams are starting to see that more and more, with guys like Carson Wentz and Josh Allen coming from smaller schools and then performing well in the league. If you can play quarterback, it doesn’t matter where you came from. 

The Spun: What part of your game are you working on the most during this process?

ZT: First and foremost, my accuracy. Sometimes you get too quick in the pocket and do too much. When you do too much, you might miss a guy by an inch or two. During this whole process, I’m trying to be more sound with my feet, make quicker decisions and get the ball to where it needs to be. 

The Spun: What has been your driving force through this process?

ZT: I think it’s my family and my will to succeed. I put this image in my mind when I was a little kid. As a future father and husband, I want to set my family up for success. And I think I want to show people back home that if a kid from Trussville, Alabama, can make it, so can they. 

The Spun: What is an NFL team getting in Zac Thomas?

ZT: A competitor, like I said – it was instilled in me when I was a little kid. My brother was eight years older so he was pushing me from a very young age. The leadership and toughness I bring to a team is something you can’t find everywhere. I’ve always felt like I’ve been overlooked, so I play with a chip on my shoulder. I’m willing to lay everything on the line for an organization. I’m excited for this journey and excited to see what God has in store for me.

Thomas could come off the board on Day 3 of the draft.

You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.

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