Monday, April 22, 2013
ESPN 150 DE Thomas pondering decision
By William Wilkerson
ESPN 150 defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) is about as unassuming a high-profile recruit as one will come across.
He doesn’t get tangled up in the vastness of recruiting. He's not one to openly speak of his achievements. He’s also not one to rush a decision as important as his commitment to the college program of his choice.
An explosive defensive end, Thomas showed the skills that have led to offers from schools such as Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State and many more.
Go ahead and ask him where he’s going or who he’s favoring and you’ll get an answer you’d swear was stuck on loop.
“Things are really still jumbled up,” Thomas said. “I really don’t know. People ask me all the time and I truthfully don’t know where I want to go so I am still trying to figure out, take some visits and talk about schools with my parents and coaches.”
That answer hasn’t changed since Thomas, who is 6-foot-3 and 258 pounds, began acquiring offers, which have grown into one of the most impressive in the country. He has more than 25 offers, from the likes of Alabama, Texas, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Ohio State.
They all have great reason to pursue him. Thomas was just ranked No. 30 overall in the first ESPN 150 of the 2014 cycle. He’s the No. 5 defensive end in the country, No. 5 player in Texas and No. 6 player in the midlands region.
For as well mannered and respectful as he is off the field, he flips a switch that makes him a bad, bad dude on Friday nights.
All of that said, his unpretentious charm not withstanding, Thomas is having fun with the process. He loves the camps -- he was named defensive line MVP at the Dallas Nike Football Training Camp -- and has grown into a much better conversationalist.
He and Texas defensive ends coach Oscar Giles struck one up on Tuesday afternoon when Giles dropped by Coppell High School to check in on one of Texas’ biggest targets.
“It was good to see him,” Thomas said. “They were the second school to come see me. He was just seeing how I was doing, just walked around and gave me some input.”
Defensive end is considered an extreme position of need for the Longhorns in 2014, which explains why they have offered more defensive ends (10) than any other position in this class.
Derick Roberson (San Antonio/Brennan) and Jake McMillon (Abilene, Texas/Abilene) have already committed. Has that dampened Texas’ chances with Thomas?
“That is definitely something to look at,” Thomas said. “I know Coach Giles wanted three or four commitments, so I knew that was going to happen. I mean I truly don’t know what to say about that. I know that I am going to compete wherever I go and wherever that is there will be competition. It’s a factor but it’s not a big, big factor.”
The Longhorns have to hope that remains the case because there is some stiff competition in pursuit of Thomas, including that first school that stopped by on Tuesday: Stanford.
“I just like the opportunity that they offer both academically and football-wise,” he said. “It’s just a great place to be.”
Thomas has visited Texas more than any other school -- five times. But he’s doing his do diligence in taking unofficial visits. He visited Arkansas over the weekend, where his sister attends school, and has also visited Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Baylor, Stanford, UCLA and USC.
“Everyone was a good visit,” he said. “Some were different because some were for practice, some were junior day, some were games.”
Thomas said he would like to take plenty more visits, including all five of his official visits his senior season. He’s hoping to narrow his favorites to five or six schools either before the season or early on after it kicks off.
“At the end of the day it’s going to come down to wherever I am most comfortable and wherever I know I am going to become a better person and player everyday,” Thomas said.