Lamaar Thomas Talks Terps, Future Plans

When Terp Sports Report first introduced Friendly High School running back Lamaar Thomas, he was unknown to most reporters and recruiters. Virtually all of the attention was given instead to teammate Joe Haden, a Florida recruit who was one of the Washington area's best players in decades. Almost a year later, though, Thomas is a hot commodity in recruiting circles.

So, to what extent has his ever-growing status affected his attitude about the hometown Terrapins?

Not in the slightest.

"They're still up top," said Thomas, a 5-foot-11, 178-pound speedster who has offers from a plethora of schools in addition to Maryland, including Ohio State, Boston College and Illinois, to name a few.

"I feel really comfortable with Maryland. I feel like I can just be myself there. I can talk to coach [Bryan] Bossard about anything, it doesn't just have to be football," Thomas said.

One of the state's elite sprinters, Thomas has lost one event all season and recently ran a blazing-fast 10.51-second 100-meter dash. He's found it difficult to pack on muscle in the weight room because of track, but had added about 10 pounds in the past several months and plans to dedicate much of his summer to bulking himself.

He'll also attend a handful of combines and camps, including the upcoming Elite Combine in New Jersey, as he looks to further elevate his status nationally. He's currently ranked a four-star prospect and one of the top 20 running backs in the nation, but is perhaps a bit overlooked even still. Though one of the more humble kids you'll meet, he's also aware of his gifts and he works intrepidly to hone them.

"I like to compete, so I go to camps just to compete," said Thomas, who posted the fastest 40-yard dash (4.40 seconds) of anyone at a recent Nike Combine in New York, edging Friendly teammate Josh Haden.

Thomas recently took a visit to Illinois, where recruiting coordinator and D.C. native Mike Locksley has had impressive success in recruiting Washington-area players. In addition to being one of the nation's best recruiters and a force in D.C.-area recruiting, Locksley grew up with Thomas' father, Sean Thomas.

But Lamaar, as his father pointed out, has never been a follower, so he wasn't heavily swayed by the crew of locals in Champagne, such as stars Arrelious Benn and Vontae Davis.

"Lamaar's going to do what's best for him," Sean Thomas said. Lamaar added, "It went good. It was good just to have a lot of people there to make you feel like home, but I wouldn't say it'll be a factor."

Thomas hasn't produced gaudy statistics during his career because his time at Friendly has been shared with the elder Haden, who is amongst the most prolific players in state history and who led friendly to a 14-0 record and a Class 3A state championship last fall.

And then there's Josh Haden, also a current junior, and a highly sought running back with more than 20 offers. But Thomas could be a star in college and appears to be the Terps' staff's No. 1 priority at running back. He has an effortless, glide-like stride and excellent instincts. He played very well as a safety this year but plans to play either running back or wide receiver in college. Until recently, he was set on being a running back.

"That's another thing. I want to play running back because it's what I'm used to. I always grew up playing running back," he said. "But right now I'm playing wide receiver in practice and I'm starting to like that as well. I'm doing pretty good catching the ball. I think I'm better at running back because I've always played it."

Thomas has been to Maryland on numerous occasions, though he hasn't had a chance to make the half-hour drive to College Park recently because of track. But h e will be attending the spring game this weekend. Sean Thomas, meanwhile, has been a regular at Terps practices this spring.

"He tries to go up there at least once a week. He tells me how practice went. He really likes to watch football," Lamaar said.

Thomas plans to make visits to UNC and Tennessee this spring, in addition to a possible trip to Boston College. But both father and son have reiterated it'll be difficult for other schools to get Thomas out of his home state. His parents have missed one or two of his football games and track meets since he was a child, and he is adamant about wanting to be able to play in front of family and friends.

"Most importantly it's home," Lamaar said about the University of Maryland. "Growing up, it night not have been my favorite school, but I always loved the home team. I think [location] will play a big role."

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