Bloomington, Ind. – Schools might not be sure where they'd play Oak Lawn, Ill., athlete Tommie Thomas, but a handful of prominent programs would welcome sorting out that problem.
The 6-1, 175-pounder from Richards H.S. played quarterback and defensive back on the prep level and guided his team to an 11-1 record and a spot in the 6A quarterfinals. As a quarterback he threw for 1,585 yards, rushed for another 650 and totaled 28 touchdowns, while on defense he added 45 tackles and three interceptions.
That sort of productivity has resulted in a slew of offers for Thomas, who projects as either a safety or wide receiver in college. But with his season now concluded, he said he's primarily looking at five schools – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Colorado and Kansas State.
Illinois figures to be the team to beat. Coach Ron Zook's program is not only the in-state school, but it's also coming off a very successful season that could conclude with a BCS bowl bid depending on the outcome of Saturday's other games.
"There's a big draw to go to Illinois," Thomas said. "It's a good place, and they've been doing well. I was there for the Michigan game and it was pretty nice there. They've stuck out a lot to me."
But Indiana has also stood out to Thomas. The Hoosiers have been after him since last spring, and Thomas said IU's interest is very apparent.
"They've been showing a lot of interest – I'm being recruiting by basically the whole staff because I get letters from each of them," Thomas said. "They all seem like really nice guys.
They said I could fit in pretty good there. They said I'd have a good chance to come there and play early. They said they're not sure which side of the ball I'd be on, but they said if I could I might be able to go both ways if I really worked at it."
While the chance to get a look on both sides of the ball is something that appeals to Thomas about IU, so is the fact the coaching situation has been resolved. After months of uncertainty, Lynch was given a new four-year contract that gives Thomas and other recruits some comfort knowing who their coach would be if they played in Bloomington.
"That helped them a lot, and it helped the recruits also," Thomas said. "For those of us who are considering Indiana, we looked at the coaching job and some of us thought Indiana would go with another head coach next year. Now that they've gotten the extension, I'll start looking at them harder."
While Thomas hasn't made an official visit to IU, he said he has heard plenty about the Bloomington campus from a friend who is currently a student at IU. He also said he's hoping to schedule a visit to get an up-close look at Lynch's program in the near future.
For the time being, though, he hasn't scheduled any official visits. He said he is waiting until he gets a break from his basketball schedule before he begins making trips to his various finalists.
Hoosiers, Others Covet Thomas
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