PRINCETON RECRUITING AREAS — Alabama; Arkansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Mississippi; Tennessee; West Virginia
Stephen Thomas, who has had successful stops at both the University of Delaware and the University of Southern Mississippi, is in his third season as a Princeton assistant coach, as well as his second coaching inside linebackers. Last season, he guided a dynamic set of young linebackers who helped Princeton win the Ivy League title.
Princeton was ranked second in the Ivy League in total defense and rushing defense, and it was third in pass defense. The Tigers had multiple All-Ivy League players at each level, including Bushnell Cup finalist and Senior Bowl invitee Caraun Reid.
The 2013 defense was known for its attacking style, which translated to 23 takeaways during the season. Princeton ranked third nationally in sacks (3.7 per game), fourth in first downs allowed and 13th in third-down conversion defense.
In his first season at Princeton, he helped guide the Tigers to a four-win improvement, its biggest turnaround in more than two decades.
Thomas spent the 2011 season at Southern Miss, where he worked on the offensive side of the ball. He helped the Golden Eagles to a conference title and a Hawaii Bowl appearance while working with the offensive lineman and assisting in film breakdown, data input and scout team coordination.
He gained terrific experience on the defensive side of the ball during two years at Delaware, where he worked with both the linebackers (2009) and the secondary (2010). He helped the Blue Hens go 18-8 those two seasons, the latter of which resulted in the top-ranked scoring defense in the FCS and a berth in the national championship game.
Thomas is a 2006 graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he played defensive back and earned his degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering. He went from Buffalo to SUNY Cortland, where he began his coaching career working with the defensive secondary for two seasons. During that time, Cortland won two conference titles and reached the NCAA quarterfinal.