Maryland landed its running back for the 2014 class on Thursday when St . John's Prep (Danver, Mass.) running back Johnathan Thomas committed to the Terps and made the announcement public via Twitter tweeting, "Verbally committed to the University of Maryland !! #goterps!"
St. John's Prep Coach Jim O'Leary said the Terps are getting, "an outstanding young man with every tool you need," in 5-foot-11, 215-pound Thomas.
O' Leary weighed in on what sealed the deal for the Terps.
"The education portion was very important to him and he also wanted to play at a place were he felt comfortable," O'Leary said. "He had some great choices, but he just felt most comfortable with the decision to go to Maryland."
He added, "He [Thomas] went down and visited twice and spent the night one night, so he got to meet a lot of the guys and felt comfortable with the people, the coaching staff and just felt like it was a good fit for him."
Thomas' offer list included a number of schools, but O'Leary said it really came down to three in the end: Arkansas, Boston College, and Maryland.
"I just think Arkansas was too far for him," O'Leary said. "Flying from Baltimore to Boston is quicker than driving 10 miles in the traffic in Boston. So I think that makes him and his family feel good knowing they can get there easily and see him any time they want."
O'Leary said with the intensity of the Division I recruiting process, many schools were pressuring Thomas to make a decision and Maryland was not one of those schools.
"I think that kind of sends a message to you, a lot of people will say ‘you are my No. 1 choice, but you have to make a decision right now,'" O'Leary said. "When they say, ‘we wont rush you, we are going to stick with you until you make a decision' it means a lot more and it also means they care about you making the right decision."
"Johnathan is a very quiet and thoughtful young man so I think that approach made him feel more comfortable."
O'Leary said the Terps are getting "the complete package" in the three-star running back.
"It says a lot that he had the Gatorade Player of the Year with him in the backfield and he was still our leading rusher," O'Leary said. "Plus he was one of our leading tacklers on defense and he was only out there a third of the time. He is just an impact player."
"He went to Florida earlier in January and ran a 4.49 40 and you look at him physically and you know that he is a Division I football player."
As far as running style, Thomas is "a power running back," O'Leary said. "He runs well between that tackles, he catches the ball well in the backfield, so he has all the tools and he works very hard in the weight room."
Thomas joins McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) offensive lineman Jared Cohen and St. John's College High (Washington, D.C) three-star quarterback Will Ulmer as the third member of the Terps 2014 class.
Thomas rushed for 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns last season.
Coach Speak: Thomas is the "Complete Package"
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