Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College defensive tackle Robert Thomas was very interested in what the University of Arkansas landed in its 2010 recruiting class.
That's because the 2009 Razorback signee out of Muskogee (OK) High plans to be one again in 2011 and loved what he saw with the defensive tackle haul.
"I looked at the guys they signed and there were some big-time guys in there," Thomas said. "You take those guys, the guys in my class like D.D. Jones and then I get over there and we are going to be a big-time force with our defensive tackle rotation."
Indeed D.D. Jones was a standout for the Razorbacks as a true freshmen this season and the Razorbacks landed Junction City's Byran Jones (6-2, 310) and Tulsa (OK) Booker T. Washington's Calvin Barnett (6-2, 330) in the 2010 haul.
"I got to come over to Fayetteville when they played Auburn," Thomas said. "Ryan Mallett and that Arkansas offense are great and these are the type of guys I am going to join and make the defense a force, too."
Thomas – who says he is now 6-foot-3, 325 pounds – redshirted as a true freshmen this past season at Coffeyville and made it clear last week that he is solidly committed to Arkansas.
"Let the fans know that my number one focus over here has been to take care of my grades," Thomas said. "I am not going to let them down and I want to graduate this December and get over there as soon as I can and get ready to play."
He has noticed something in particular about the Razorback offense.
"The guys making plays for Arkansas all seem to be young guys and that means we are just going to keep getting better and better as they get older and we add in more players," Thomas said. "I'm very excited about where the program is headed."
Because of the redshirt year, Thomas will have three years to play three once he does arrive at Arkansas.
He says he certainly expects to be more ready to play in the 2011 campaign than he would have in the 2009 one.
"I've gotten bigger and stronger and become a better player because of this year," Thomas said. "I got to see a lot of action in practice, but some days they would take me out because I was just killing the offense. That made me feel really good about how I am coming along."
Thomas, who chose Arkansas over Kansas State and Oklahoma State, admits he can't wait for a real game next fall.
"Oh, man, I want to hit somebody in a game so much," Thomas said. "That's what I live for, just taking somebody down out there on the field."
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