Thomas Enjoyed Saturday; Will Return To Duke

There was, perhaps, no bigger football recruit in the stands on Saturday night than Wadesboro (N.C.) Anson High defensive tackle Tra Thomas. Long promised a spot in the class by the Duke coaches, the 6'3, 275 pound prospect says he enjoyed the game against Central and will be back again.

"It was pretty exciting to go to Duke and see the atmosphere like that," said Tra Thomas. "The team put on a good performance and the crowd was really good as well. That they won made it even better."

While winning hasn't been a hallmark of the Blue Devil program over the last few years, it's something the coaching staff has apparently marked the talented in-state player as key cog to achieving in the future.

"I talk to Coach Hobby, Coach Collins, and Coach Cutcliffe a lot. They're really active with me. They tell me that with a guy like me on the defensive line they can really have the program take off. They have told me they are going to win at Duke and they want me to be a part of it. It all starts with the class of 2010 and I could be the missing piece."

"Coach Hobby and I have talked a lot. He's coached in the league and he's been in the league. He's told me he thinks I have what it takes to do the same thing. I just have to work hard."

In short, the pitch from the Duke coaching staff appears to be "come in and compete for a starting spot early on. However, Thomas notes that another ACC school is taking the opposite approach.

"With Clemson the coaches are telling me to come in and take a veteran approach to things. They said I could come in and not play for a year or so and then be an impact player from the start. That if I come in and play too early it could slow my development."

Those dueling paths will likely be at the heart of whatever decision Thomas makes, though such a choice likely won't be made for several months.

"I'm going to take visits to Michigan State and Marhsall in October. I'll also be going up to East Carolina sometime during bowl season. Clemson has said they want me to visit after my season is over, and I haven't gotten Duke scheduled officially yet."

However, Thomas will be back in Durham before any official visit is taken.

"I plan on coming back next week for the Virginia Tech game for sure. After that I am not sure when else I will be back. It's close enough to visit whenever, but I still want to take my official there."

Thomas has offers from each of the five programs he will visit. In addition he claims the coaching staff from North Carolina has made contact recently to express interest.

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