Thomas DeCoud #21 FS
Height: 6-2 Weight: 195 Age: 29
Born: 3/19/1985 Oakland , CA
Experience: 7th season
High School: Pinole Valley HS [Pinole, CA]
Selected By: Atlanta Falcons
Pick (Overall): 35 (98)
Thomas DeCoud, an athletic pass defender with the quickness to play cornerback, is known for his skills on special teams.
With excellent leaping ability and long arms, he blocked six kicks during his first two seasons with the Bears. Despite his lean frame, he has also proven to be a solid tackler in the box, relishing his role of taking on ballcarriers on outside running plays.
His versatility was invaluable at Cal, where he played every position in the secondary. With his ball anticipation skills and acceleration to close on plays in front of him, DeCoud might have found a home at free safety, earning a full-time job for the first time in his collegiate career at that position as a senior. He is known around the Pac-10 Conference for his athleticism and intensity. "I've been hit by everybody on the team," Cal tailback Justin Forsett told the San Francisco Chronicle. "When Thomas hits you, it's not something you want to remember."
DeCoud was a standout football and basketball player at Pinole Valley High School. He earned first team All-Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League accolades during a brilliant senior season in which he recorded 80 tackles and two interceptions at cornerback, and caught 23 passes for 600 yards at wide receiver. As a junior, he was awarded All-ACCAL honors in both football and basketball.
The 175-pound freshman spent his first season at California playing cornerback on the scout team in 2003. He spent most of the 2004 campaign on the special-team coverage units, appearing in 10 games as a reserve cornerback, finishing with nine tackles (six solos) and a fumble recovery. He also led the Pac-10 Conference with three blocked kicks, despite playing early in the year with a right ankle sprain suffered in fall camp.
DeCoud shifted to free safety as a sophomore, playing in 11 games behind Harrison Smith. He continued to excel on special teams, again blocking three kicks. He also came up with 28 tackles (18 solos) with a stop for a loss, but was bothered early in the year by a hyper-extended right knee and a left thumb sprain that would require surgery during the 2005 season.
DeCoud took over free safety duties, starting the team's first four games of the 2006 season before missing the Oregon State and Oregon contests due to a right knee sprain in the Arizona State game. He returned to action as a reserve behind Bernard Hicks, making 45 tackles (20 solos) with a stop behind the line of scrimmage and three pass breakups, earning Cal's Most Improved Player honors.
As a senior, DeCoud was named the defensive captain, picking up Cal MVP and All-Pac 10 Conference honorable mention. He started the first 12 games, registering a career-high 116 tackles (71 solo) to lead the Bears' defense. He added a sack with three stops for losses, as he recovered a fumble and caused two others. He also had an interception and four pass deflections.