Maryland Still Number One with Thomas

Following a solid performance Saturday night in the 3A East Region championship game, Friendly (Md.) RB Lamaar Thomas gave TSR an update on his recruitment. More inside.

If he played for most any other high school, Friendly (Md.) running back Lamaar Thomas would be the star. He'd be getting 25 carries a game while racking up gaudy statistics and press clippings galore. But even while he waits for his turn in the limelight behind University of Florida-bound star Joe Haden, it's easy to see the talent that has made him one of the Terps' priority recruits in the Class of '08.

While Haden accounted for six touchdowns Saturday night in the 3A East Region championship agaist Friendly, Thomas again made the most of his scattered opportunities.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound speedster, who is seeing much of his playing time at receiver, caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Haden less than two minutes into game. Also a starter at safety, he later picked off a pass and alertly lateralled it to Haden for an 80-yard return that was called back for a hold. He also broke off a 40-plus yard touchdown spring, which also happened to be called back.

Thomas finished with 85 yards rushing on nine carries along with the touchdown. He said afterward he has no problem sharing the limelight with Haden and younger brother Josh Haden, a junior who starts at tailback and has offers from Ohio State and Florida, among 20 schools.

"It's hard playing with so many players who are [stars], but you just have to take advantage of your chances and also feel good for them when they do things," said Thomas, who holds a written scholarship offer from Maryland.

The staff and players at Friendly raves about Thomas, and his blazing speed and outstanding vision are only part of the reason. He's a bright, affable young man with a great attitude.

"He is a dream for a coach, never says anything, never complains," says Friendly coach George Earley, who has been coaching at the Fort Washington, Md., school for 20 years. "You'll take a player like him all year long."

While the elder Haden is regaded as perhaps the best athlete in the national Class of 2007, Thomas isn't too far off.

"When he opens up his stride, nobody can stay with him," says Joe Haden, adding that Thomas is the team champ in the 100 meters. Keep in mind, this is no oridnary high school football team -- Friendly has blazing speed.

"Next year he'll probably get 15 carries a game and my brother will get 15 carries a game," Haden continued. "They're gonna be sick."

On the rectuiing front, Thomas has been hearing recently from Georgia, which has not offered yet but seems interested. Other elite programs like Ohio State and Oklahoma are looking at him closely as well. Illinois also is likely to try and continue to take advantage of its D.C.-area pipeline and chase Thomas, while a handful of schools all the way out in Pac-1o country are recruiting him, too.

But, said Thomas, "I still like the Terps. They're still number one."

We'll keep you posted on Lamaar Thomas and his recruitment. He'll be attending the Scout.com All-American Bowl Combine January in San Antonio, and after that, it wouldn't be surprising to see him receive the same sorts of accolades Joe Haden has gotten.


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