The bell lap has rung for the 2007 football recruiting season.
After a recruiting dead period during the holiday break, college football programs are gearing up for the stretch run that leads up to next month's national letter of intent signing day. Indiana has a couple of big weekends of official visits lined up, beginning this weekend.
One of the players who will be in Bloomington is 6-5, 250-pound defensive end Eric Thomas. A standout at Glenville (Ohio) H.S., Thomas was offered by the Hoosiers last summer and will have an opportunity to get an up-close look at Coach Terry Hoeppner's program this weekend.
"They offered me a while ago, and we've been talking regularly," said Thomas.
Indiana isn't the only school that's been showing interest. Thomas has already made an official visit to West Virginia, and he said he has scheduled officials to UConn (Jan. 26) and North Carolina (Jan. 19) as well. While he doesn't have officials lined up, he said he's also still considering Wisconsin and Purdue.
While West Virginia is recruiting Thomas to play tight end, everyone else on his short list has targeted him as a promising prospect at defensive end.
"Coaches like my speed and how I can get past people easy, plus my size," Thomas said.
After starting his prep career at Cleveland's Benedictine H.S., Thomas transferred to Glenville H.S. before the start of his senior season. He split time at defensive end and defensive tackle and helped lead Coach Ted Ginn, Sr.'s team to a 10-2 record this fall.
Thomas got plenty of exposure thanks to his play at Glenville, but he also caught the attention of Indiana and a host of other schools with his play over the summer. Thomas was one of more than 100 Ohio prep football players who participated in the Ginn Tour, where the Glenville coach takes promising preps to a variety of college football camps over the summer to help them get noticed by programs.
Thomas said the group made 11 stops during the tour, including one to Indiana University. Thomas' play helped him land a scholarship offer from not only IU, but seven other Division I programs as well.
"Coaches want to see what you can do, and it gives you a chance to meet a lot of people, people you'll be in college with," Thomas said. "Players that aren't that known get a chance to do things. You'd be surprised by how many players get big offers off that tour by how they perform, even if they weren't known before."
Thomas, meanwhile, was already a pretty well known commodity after a junior season that included 72 tackles, 13 sacks and first-team All-State accolades at Benedictine H.S.
"The camps we went to, most of them already knew about me, so it was just a matter of going there and performing," Thomas said.
Thomas Headed to IU For Official
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