When Danvers (MA) St. John's Prep tailback Johnathan Thomas (5-11, 205, 4.47) left the University of Arkansas campus after an unofficial visit on Monday, he was of the mind to commit to the Razorbacks.
But the Boston-area high school star knew that he had to slow down and at least make sure it was just a visit high.
"Where I am from, once you commit, there is no de-comitting," Thomas said. "You have to be 100 percent sure. You have to sit down with your parents and your coaches and make sure you take everything into consideration. But I can tell you that I definitely enjoyed the visit and the whole thing just blew me away."
Thomas, who rushed for 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns last season, has now seen Arkansas, Penn State, Maryland, Pittsburgh, UConn and Boston College among others.
The Razorback program of new head coach Bret Bielema certainly impressed Thomas as well as his position coach Joel Thomas.
"They have great facilities, great coaches and great academics – just everything you need," Thomas said. "I really like Coach Bielama and think he is a funny and great guy. I also think Coach Joel Thomas is a fantastic coach and I think they are really trying to develop a family atmosphere and that really impresses me."
The stadium was of particular interest to Thomas.
"It was so much bigger than all the others and so much nicer," Thomas said. "In fact, the only one that I have seen that even compares is Gillette Stadium, where the (New England) Patriots play. Arkansas is big-time. There is no doubt about that."
It is also in Arkansas' favor that they play in the SEC, regarded as the nation's best league.
"That's a really big deal because to be the best, you have to play against the best and that's what I want to do," Thomas said. "The SEC gives you the greatest challenge and gets you ready for the next level."
Thomas believes that he has some things going for him and one particular he still needs to work on.
"I believe I run the ball hard and that I have good vision," Thomas said. "I would like to get better with my breakaway speed. That is the one thing I would like to improve over this spring and summer."
He could have a decision sooner than later.
"I'm thinking I just want to take sit down with my family and coaches and be 100 percent sure," Thomas said. "I think I'll do something this summer or right before. I can really see myself at Arkansas. They made it clear how much they want me."
Thomas' dad Nathan, who made the trip to Arkansas with his son, has a very interesting job as the chief of security for the governor of Massachusetts.
"He was very involved when things went down with the bombing at the Boston Marathon," Thomas said. "He was there with them when they caught those guys. I knew they would get them and wouldn't let them get away with it."
Arkansas Impresses Thomas
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