The above highlights feature footage of Cartrell Thomas during his senior season.
Lancaster (Texas) High School head coach Chris Gilbert took time after Wednesday's spring football practice to talk with Scout about talented three-star prospect Cartrell Thomas, a top 25 receiver in the state of Texas' loaded 2017 class and Boise State signee.
Below is Gilbert's Q-and-A session with Scout:
What does Cartrell do well that will help him transition to college?
Well he has a very mature football mind. A little-known fact is that he wants to get into coaching after football. Knowing the game is important to him. Right now in spring practice without him -- we've had him for three years -- it shows that he's not out there. We can't get guys lined up. So he understands the game, he understands coverages. He just knows how to be a football player other than just being an athlete. So he's a very, very sharp football mind.
He knows where to sit in the coverages as a receiver. He's a very, very smooth route-runner, and he's a technician when it comes to routes. I know he has some growing to do on that on the college level, and learning their system, but he's a gym rat. I expect him to learn. I honestly expect him to play as a true freshman. I think he'll be strong enough physically to block and all of those things. I feel good.
What does Cartrell need to work on as he makes the jump to college?
I think as he gets stronger, I think he just has to continue to mature in every avenue. I don't know if he has a glaring weakness. I think maybe he wants to get faster in his long-distance speed, but as far as all of the receiver skills and things it takes to play the game, I think he's pretty good.
A lot of people will point out that he's 5-foot-9, 160-something pounds. Does he compensate for that in other ways?
They'll forget about that. They'll forget about that. CT's a dawg. He knows what they think about him, so that drives him. You won't have a bigger competitor. You will forget his size.
What kind of teammate is Cartrell?
In the locker room he's really important. He's been an extension of the coaches for us as he's matured. I think all the team loves him. He was without a doubt the leader of our football team and it wasn't even close.
From a personality standpoint, what is CT like? Is he a vocal leader?
Oh, without a doubt. He's gonna have something to say. He doesn't overly do it because a lot of times he's making sure that he's right, but when something needs to be said, he says it. I would always tell him, 'When you come off the field, let me know what you're seeing.' And he was pretty much right most of the time and gave me some ideas on what to call and what was open. Now, he wasn't trying to call plays. That wasn't his deal. But he was telling me what was going on out there. His personality as far as leadership, it was vocal when it needed to be vocal, and the guys respected him. I think that was the biggest thing. They have a respect for him.
Is CT a guy who could contribute early on special teams?
Punt return. He was our sole punt returner. My coaches get to pick the starters. I pick two guys: the snapper and the punt returner. I have to trust those cats. Any coach will tell you they want the guy that's gonna field the ball, so I trusted him back there. I know they'll have some guys, but he gives them some options as a return guy.
Career at Lancaster
HIGH SCHOOL CAREER: In three varsity seasons, Thomas caught 121 passes for 2,320 yards and 27 touchdowns on 19.2 yards per reception. Thomas helped Lancaster High School to consecutive Texas Class 5A Division II state quarterfinal appearances in his junior and senior seasons.
2016: As a senior, Thomas led his team with 60 catches for 1,205 yards and 15 touchdowns on more than 20 yards per reception. He also ran three times for 65 yards. Thomas led Lancaster to a 12-2 record and a Texas Class 5A Division II state quarterfinal appearance.
2015: Thomas enjoyed a breakout junior year as he led his team in receptions and receiving yards. Thomas caught 54 passes for 943 yards and finished second on his team with 11 touchdown grabs as Lancaster reached the Texas Class 5A Division II state quarterfinals with a 10-4 record.
2014: Thomas made his varsity debut as a sophomore, catching seven passes for 172 yards and a touchdown on 24.6 yards per catch.