And the atmosphere in Manhattan, Kan. on Sept. 4 was unlike anything Bernard Thomas had ever seen before. Wildcat fans packed Bill Snyder Family Stadium to see their team defeat the visiting Bruins of UCLA in the season opener, and the three-star cornerback prospect from Blue Springs (MO) High School came away duly impressed.
"I didn't know what to expect going in," he said. "Because I had never been to a game."
Thomas is regarded as one of the top prospects in the region. Though not overly tall, standing just 5-foot-10, he possesses high-level athleticism and strength that has programs like Arkansas, Kansas, Kansas State and Tulsa sitting up and taking notice. All four have offered scholarships.
"Basically, just how they use their cornerbacks," Thomas said, when asked what has KSU out in front. "Their defensive backs coach (Keith Burns), I've got a really good relationship with him."
The local talent will visit Manhattan again, this time officially, during the weekend of Oct. 30. An official visit to Kansas is also close to being finalized.