Terps Strong with Thomas

Six months ago, Lamaar Thomas was a little-known sophomore running back at Friendly High School. But times change fast in the recruiting game, as Thomas found recently when he received letters in the mail from Oklahoma and Southern Cal.

“I was real surprised when the letters came,” said Thomas, one of the top juniors on Maryland recruiting board for the Class of 2008. “I was like, ‘Did they send these to the wrong person?”

The letters came as a result of a Friendly assistant coach sending Thomas’s highlight tapes to schools throughout the Midwest and West Coast. As you’ll see -- in the video link here --  Thomas has fantastic vision and speed, and appears to have the makings of a high-major starting running back.

The 6-foot, 175 pound junior will be one of the top recruits in the D.C. area next year and seems to be Maryland’s to lose; he’s spent a lot of time in College Park, most recently watching the Terps’ win over Florida International last weekend. Thomas, who was with a group of recruits, was singled out in front of the group by head coach Ralph Friedgen.

“Coach Friedgen called me up to the middle and shook my hand,” Thomas said. “That was really [special].”

Friendly has a big-time showdown this weekend against rival Gwynn Park, a hotbed for Division I recruits and the reigning Maryland 3A champion, and that’s been occupying most of his thoughts this week. Gwynn Park features Maryland commit Taylor Waston and future Virginia Tech Hokie Courtney Prince, but does not have the gamebreakers Friendly has at the skill positions.

“We’re gonna see who the team is,” Thomas said.

Thomas runs a 4.45-second 40-yard dash and scored 15 touchdowns as a sophomore, on an eye-opening 9.7 yards per carry. He would undoubtedly be racking up gaudy statistics for most high school teams. But at Friendly, which features Florida commit Joe Haden, his highly sought younger brother Josh Haden, wide receiver Vincent Hill (Akron) and a handful more future DI players, his numbers are watered down.

“We have so many people, it’s hard for coach [Marcus] Berry to spread the ball around to all the people,” said Thomas, who is spending a lot of time as a receiver.

As for the recruiting process, Thomas expects to commit sometime before his senior season, but like most juniors, he does not have a concrete plan yet. For a while, he had talked to the Hadens about playing together in college, but that idea has been put on the backburner and seems unlikely, he said. He has been receiving interest from Ohio State recently but has not been offered by the Buckeyes yet.

Maryland was the first school to offer Thomas a scholarship, and it appears he is one of the Terps’ top targets for ’08.

“Maryland is my number one,” he said.

 With both Thomas and Friendly attracting a lot of recruiting attention, though, Maryland will likely have to fend off an increasing number of challengers.

Lamaar Thomas Scout.com Profile

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