Former Commodore defensive standout Johnell Thomas enters his first year on the Vanderbilt coaching staff. He will serve as a defensive graduate assistant under coordinator David Kotulski.
Thomas, a native of Orlando, Fla., served as a senior defensive co-captain on the 2012 Vanderbilt squad that tied a school record with nine victories and captured the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl over N.C. State.
Thomas started 19 games at defensive end during a four-year career from 2009-12, earning 90 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 4.5 quarterback sacks. Following his senior season, Thomas received the Mr. Commodore Award at the athletic program's annual banquet in recognition of Vanderbilt's top male student-athlete.
A product of Boone H.S. in Orlando, Thomas earned a Bachelor's degree in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt's Peabody College in May 2013. He is enrolled in postgraduate studies.