Maryland is in need of corners and safeties to fill out its 2016 class, so it makes sense that new defensive backs coach, Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, has been mining his stomping grounds in search of talent. On Dec. 14, Abdul-Rahim, an assistant at Alabama the last two years, dipped into Montgomery, Ala., offering a budding safety from Lee School.
“It was a pretty nice offer,” said Daniel Thomas, a 6-foot, 190-pounder with scholarships from South Carolina, Tulane, Georgia Southern, Middle Tennessee State, Jacksonville State, Troy, Tennessee State and UAB. “I hadn’t really been in touch with Maryland, but my coaches had been talking to [Abdul-Rahim] for a long time. My coaches told me they were just waiting for him to pull the trigger once he got to Maryland. And I’m thankful he finally did.”
Naturally, Thomas didn’t know much about his most recent suitor. Since he wasn’t aware of Maryland’s interest until he received the offer, he hadn’t really done much research on the Big Ten program.
“I know they have a really good basketball team, and I know it’s in the Big Ten and I know they have cool uniforms,” Thomas said. “I’ve seen them on TV a couple times, and the uniforms are pretty sweet. But besides that, I don’t know a lot yet.”
Maybe not, but Thomas does have a connection to the school that could make it an intriguing option. He has cousins that live near Washington, D.C., and said he “definitely” will take the opportunity to check out Maryland and visit his relatives after the New Year.
“I have family up near Maryland so I will go see the school, definitely,” Thomas said. “I haven’t been up there since 2011 when I was there for a graduation, but I liked it up there. It was a nice vibe, a cool area. I wouldn’t mind going to school up there.”
Besides checking out College Park, Md., Thomas will trek to South Carolina Jan. 29 and Middle Tennessee Jan. 15. He said the Gamecocks’ recent offer certainly caught his attention since it’s an SEC school, but “I don’t have any favorites yet.”
Thomas said there’s no scholarships in particular he’s looking for, either, but once again mentioned, “It’s always nice to have the SEC after you.” And it’s conceivable he could pull in a couple more offers from that powerhouse conference, as Lane said Florida and Auburn have been in touch. In addition, coaches from Michigan and UNC have contacted the Alabama safety.
“I’m just waiting to see what develops and who offers,” Thomas said. “It’s a lot of different schools talking to me now. I have some good options on the table.”
Thomas said he’s unsure exactly when he’d like to finalize his recruitment. He said he has to see what offers come to fruition, evaluate them, take a couple officials and then discuss them with his mother.
“I’m not rushing into anything,” Thomas said. “It’s a closed [recruiting] period right now, so I have time to think things through.”
Thomas is coming off a senior season where he recorded 87 tackles, seven picks, two fumble recovers, three forced fumbles, an interception return for a touchdown, a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown and two punt-return scores.