Every college recruiter in the country knows all about the marquee players at Olive Branch such as the Summers brothers, Markeith and Anthony, as well as safety Allen Walker. Until recently, however, not many were familiar with Thomas, who is a prototypical defensive end with the right kind of size and speed to play well at that position at the next level. Thomas is putting together such a solid season that recruiters from all over the country have taken notice.
The Florida Gators have been recruiting all the prospects at Olive Branch for months now. The Gators have made their presence felt with the Summers brothers and Walker, but Coach Urban Meyer and his staff have also made strong inroads with Thomas, who doubles as the left tackle on offense. Florida recruited only two defensive ends (junior college transfer Jeremy Mincey and Derrick Harvey) in 2004 and the Gators whiffed at that position last year so getting a defensive end commitment of the caliber of Victor Thomas is a priority this year.
Thomas has visited Gainesville with the Summers brothers back during the summer months so he's family with the University of Florida and the coaching staff. He likes what he's seen of the Gators.
"I like their defense," Thomas said. "Coach (Doc) Holliday is recruiting me and keeps up with me every week. I have seen them on television, and I like their defensive intensity. I came up to camp with Anthony and Markeith Summers. I liked Coach (Greg) Mattison. He's a good coach."
He wants to play early and for the most part that is what he sees at all of the schools on his list. Arkansas, Memphis, Mississippi State and Ole Miss round out his top five schools. He commented about the other schools:
MISSISSIPPI STATE: "I can go and play early there"
OLE MISS: "The same thing. I can go there and play early there. It's also a very close school to my home. (Offensive Line) Coach George DeLeone is recruiting me there."
MEMPHIS: "They are actually the closest, and I can go there and play early too."
ARKANSAS: "I can go there and play early too."
Playing time seems to be the hot button for Thomas, who says that academics will not be an issue.
"Playing time is a big thing," Thomas said. "I think I can get early playing time at all the schools. Academics are also important. I am good at math but not sure what I want to major in. I am on track to qualify and will be eligible when I graduate."
While Thomas has flown under the radar on the national recruiting scene, he's a big time prospect that the Florida Gators are working hard. Right now the Gators seem to have a very good shot at landing his name on the scholarship on signing day.