East Tennessee defensive lineman Omari Thomas has spent the last several days thinking about his recruiting process. Firmly in his mind is his most recent visit to Tennessee, where he made his long awaited return to Rocky Top.
"The visit was good," Thomas said. "I liked the environment and how the coaches are confident in themselves. They feel like they can do something at Tennessee and I like that."
Thomas spent a good amount of his time with defensive line coach Tracy Rocker. The former Outland Trophy winner and longtime NFL standout long a good history of developing talented players.
"He's a cool dude and down to earth," Thomas said. "He's going to get the most out of you. He was talking to me about more than just football. He was talking about life and building a relationship, He doesn't blow my phone up. We have good conversations. He doesn't believe in blowing you up and making our talks meaningful and I respect that."
Running backs coach David Johnson is in charge of recruiting Thomas, so those two also talk a good bit. Also taking a good amount of interest in Thomas is head coach Jeremy Pruitt.
"He's impressed upon me how important I am to their class of defensive linemen," Thomas said. "He thinks I can come in and contribute on the defensive line. He thinks I can be an elite defensive lineman and help get the program to where they want to get. He recruits me for me."
The visit was just a perfect opportunity to reacquaint himself with Tennessee. The Vols hope to land several top in-state players like Thomas, Chris Morris, Cooper Mays, Tyler Baron, Jay Hardy, Tre'Vonn Rybka and Keshawn Lawrence. They have been very successful in getting the others on campus and now to get Thomas back to Knoxville really sets things up to gain some momentum.
"Everything I saw I had seen before," Thomas said. "It was just good to get back up and chill and talk to the coaches and have fun. I got a chance to spend a whole day on campus and do a photo shoot and just hang out."
Thomas was accompanied by his family, who also like the pitch from the orange and white.
"The visit was good for them to see it again," Thomas said. "They enjoyed the trip as well. They talk to coach Johnson the most so they like what Tennessee has to offer from both on and off the field."