- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lawrence Thomas shares initials with legendary New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor, but the Detroit Renaissance star had to earn the right to be called L.T.

He eventually did. But the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Michigan State commitment didn’t know much about Taylor until his coaches educated him.

“Once we explained to him the significance of who L.T. was, we told him he should be honored that we call you that,” Renaissance coach Antonio Watts said.

Like Taylor, Thomas has a reputation for creating chaos from the linebacker position. Last season, he had 97 tackles, including 26 for loss, and eight sacks. He also had three interceptions and four fumble recoveries. He said Thomas‘ best game last season was against Detroit Cody, when he had 19 tackles, including seven for losses, and an interception.

None of those stats quantify what he’s best known for.

“The kid is a ferocious hitter,” Watts said.

You’d never know that if you caught him off the field.

“He’s a big, silly kid,” Watts said. “He’s by no means an introvert. You would think a kid that size would be the quiet type, mean type. He gets mean when we line up against another team.”

As an offensive player, he demonstrates versatility. Thomas also plays tight end, running back, fullback and occasionally, quarterback.

“For a guy his size, he has the speed and the hands,” Watts said. “He runs great routes and has great lateral speed.”

He also punts.

“The kid wants to be in the mix every play,” Watts said. “He’s a dominant force on both sides of the ball.”