It's Showtime

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson chats with Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College wideout Devin Thomas (6-2, 215, 4.4) - who will catch passes from former Fayetteville star and UA signee Woody Wilson this season.

The news of the Mitch Mustain's commitment to the University of Arkansas was not only big news to just Razorback football fans.

It also reverberated over to Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, the school where one of the nation's top junior college wideout prospects is set to get his season opened this Saturday against visiting Air Force Prep.

Devin Thomas (6-2, 215, 4.4) - the aforementioned wideout - was indeed certainly paying attention.

"Oh, yes, I know all about that," Thomas said. "It certainly has thrown Arkansas way up there to the top to know that I would have a chance to play with the top high school quarterback in the country. I knew they were recruiting him and it's big to get him. He and I may be hooking up some in the future and doing some big things."

Thomas, a former Plymouth (Mich.) Canton prep standout who earned the nickname "Showtime", is a mid-term graduate who could go through spring practice and will have three years of eligibility once he gets to the Division I level.

Right now he thinks that is likely to be at either Arkansas, Michigan or Michigan State.

"Those are really the three schools that I am looking hard at right now," Thomas said. "I've got a lot of things to consider like whether I want to stay down this way and go to Arkansas or go back and be closer to home. But I'll tell you something like playing with the top quarterback in the country is an opportunity that would be hard to pass up."

Thomas said he will take some visits after the season and then make a quick call on his decision.

"I'll go check them all out again on official visits and see how everything is and then I'll pick a place," Thomas said. "I get out of here in December so I'll be able to transfer to that school and go through spring practice and get ready to play."

He took the opportunity to come visit Arkansas this summer and spent some time with Arkansas receivers coach James Shibest.

"I came over to check things out and really liked what I saw," Thomas said. "They have some big-time facilities and it just looks like a great place with a great program and some great coaches."

Thomas redshirted last season at Coffeyville as did former UA signee and Fayetteville High star Woody Wilson, who is the starting quarterback this season for Coffeyville.

"Here at Coffeyville they really try to help you out by saving you some eligibility if there are comparable older players that can handle it while you sit out," Thomas said. "We certainly had that here last season."

Indeed quarterback Mike Machen signed with Kent State while wideout Prechae Rodriguez inked with Auburn and split end Kerry Reed signed with Texas A&M but ended up at Michigan State.

The last time Thomas was in an actual game was when he caught 5 passes for 177 yards - including a 73-yard TD catch - back in the 2004 Michigan High School All-Star Game.

That came after Thomas split time between tailback and wideout in high school and had over 1,200 yards rushing and receiving his senior season while leading his team to an 11-0 mark before losing in the state playoffs.

"I think being able to redshirt last season really helped me in that I got bigger, stronger and faster and now can play this year and then have three years at my next stop," Thomas said. "I can now beat cornerbacks with my strength and quickness and I am looking forward to a great year."

Part of that has to do with Wilson, who was a standout quarterback at Fayetteville High and signed with the Razorbacks as an athlete before detouring to Coffeyville.

"He's going to be a great quarterback for us," Thomas said. "Me and Woody have a little connection going there and I think we are going to hook up with a lot of passes out there on the field this year. His arm got a lot stronger over the year and he's a big passing and running threat this season."

Thomas says Coffeyville should be pretty balanced just as they were last year with an added element from Wilson, who is still on the Arkansas radar as an athlete but also drawing interest as a signal caller from Kansas and others.

"We'll probably split it down the middle again, but one difference will be some quarterback draws in there for Woody because he's got great quickness and moves and can make some big plays," Thomas said. "I think we are going to have a lot of big plays and a great season."


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