Junior defensive lineman Solomon Thomas displayed a standout performance in what would be his final game in cardinal and white on Dec. 30 in the Sun Bowl. (DAVID ELKINSON/isiphotos.com) Solomon Thomas to declare for 2017 NFL Draft January 4, 2017 0 Comments Share tweet Tristan Vanech Managing Editor By: Tristan Vanech | Managing Editor Defensive end Solomon Thomas will declare early for the NFL Draft, he announced Wednesday morning. After two seasons of action with the Cardinal, he joins fellow junior Christian McCaffrey in forgoing his final years of eligibility. Could not have asked for a better experience at Stanford. Time for the next chapter, as I’ll be entering the NFL draft. pic.twitter.com/jbQmZ3jRYD — Solomon Thomas (@SollyThomas90) January 4, 2017 Thomas expressed gratitude to his teammates and coaches in a letter to his “Stanford family” immediately after the announcement. “The lessons I have learned at Stanford have more than prepared me for this next step,” he said. “I am so blessed by all of the people who have touched my life here. These qualities will stay with me my entire life.” Thomas made 101 tackles in 27 games, including 25.5 tackles for a loss. He had nine solo sacks and assisted on five others. He recovered four fumbles, two of which he returned for touchdowns — against USC in the 2015 Pac-12 Championship Game and at UCLA last September, then sealing a miraculous comeback win for Stanford. His near-sack of Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer provided the final stop in a defense-dominated victory over the Fighting Irish last October. In his letter, Thomas recalled the unconventional way he committed to play for Stanford in his senior year of high school. “Since pulling out a symbolic Stanford tree and donning nerd glasses on National Signing Day in 2014, I have had the most amazing time of my life,” he said. “I have grown and matured more than I ever could have imagined.” In last Friday’s Sun Bowl, Thomas notched an impressive seven total tackles, including a sack on the last play of the game — a UNC two-point conversion attempt that would have sent the game into overtime — capping a stellar day, a breakout year and ultimately a distinguished career with the Cardinal. This was a good day. Respect to @SollyThomas90 pic.twitter.com/DNFoxLPLBl — Rule of Tree (@RuleofTree) January 4, 2017 “Solomon is explosive, strong, athletic, relentless,” said head coach David Shaw about the decision. “He’s ready for the next challenge. I’m looking forward to hearing his name called early in the 2017 Draft.” The NFL Draft commences April 27 in Philadelphia. Contact Tristan Vanech at tvanech ‘at’ stanford.edu. 2017 NFL Draft Christian McCaffrey defensive end football fumbles NFL Draft Notre Dame sacks Solomon Thomas Sun Bowl UCLA UNC USC 2017-01-04 Tristan Vanech January 4, 2017 0 Comments Share tweet Subscribe Click here to subscribe to our daily newsletter of top headlines.