“I liked it. It was a great atmosphere,” said Thomas, who’s ranked the No. 255 overall prospect and No. 16 outside linebacker in the 2020 class, according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite. “We went to the basketball game. It was pretty good. I enjoyed it.” The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Thomas accompanied a couple of other highly ranked players from Cincinnati — teammate Darrion Henry, a four-star defensive end, and five-star Ohio State offensive tackle commitment Paris Johnson Jr. — on the trip to Tennessee after receiving an offer from the Vols on Jan. 11.
“I didn’t know the facilities were going to be that good,” he said. “The weight room and the coaching rooms, they were pretty good. And then the (Peyton Manning) Room in there.” After seeing Tennessee for himself, he said he’s not intrigued by the Vols for a few reasons. “I was considering them, but the visit made it a little better — a lot better,” said Thomas, who has received offers from at least 25 schools. “I like the conference that they’re in, and I like how the program is and what they do with the players.”
“(Pruitt) told me he wanted me to come back,” Thomas said. “He wanted me to come back during the summer so I could work with them, because he said he sees me as their pass-rushing guy. And he said I’ll be able to play early because they’re losing their guy who was there. They’re losing him — like, he’s going to the league or something like that.” “They were telling me how they wanted me, how I’d fit in their program and what type of defense they run,” Thomas said, adding that the Vols envision him playing “the same position I play now — outside linebacker” — in their 3-4 base defense.
Thomas said he already likes “a few schools,” but he’s not ready to name a group of early favorites just yet. He said he’s “probably” going to visit both Ohio State and Cincinnati on Saturday. He said he “always was a fan” of the home-state Buckeyes growing up, he’s currently not focused on them because he has yet to receive an offer from Ohio State. “I don’t have an offer, so right now I’m not really considering them,” Thomas said. “I mean, I’m considering them.”
While he’s not rushing to decide on a college, he said he plans to announce his choice “before the season, probably” — perhaps at the same time as his teammate. “I want to make it with Darrion,” Thomas said, referring to Henry, a top-100 prospect. “We’re probably going to make it, like, before (the season) — if not over the summer, before our first game.”
The story on these three: Paris has been an Ohio State commit for a long time, but the Urban Meyer retirement really affected him. He was solid with the Buckeyes before that, but has started taking visits since.
The early vibe with Henry was this was a Clemson-Ohio State battle, but the longer it goes on the better chance other schools have of getting into that mix and he has been visiting a lot of schools lately.
I wrote about Thomas earlier this week, and this is a return visit to Knoxville for him. He's been high on Tennessee for some time, but... and this is going to be a reoccurring theme here... I think Ohio State is tough to beat if they offer. However, Ohio State has not offered.
And the trio from ‘18. One went to UGA. One was significantly lower rated but committed to LSU because they were trying to get them all. They all talked the whole way about wanting to play together then all signed elsewhere.
If you don't try to recruit these guys, you will never get a foothole in Ohio or any other State. I would rather have fought and lost than never have fought at all. It is similar to recruiting Memphis. We went years without getting players from there and now we are drawing some of their best players.