And while no playing time was promised, Detroit (Mich.) King’s four-star cornerback knew if he chose the Wolverines, an opportunity to play early would be there if he put in the work.
“Once I seen it, then I knew for sure without a doubt in my head that I have a great chance to touch the field if I stay healthy and do what I’m supposed to do, so I know with that, then it’s a great shot,” Thomas said in an exclusive with The Michigan Insider.
So, Thomas committed to Michigan in December and is now enrolled in classes as an early enrollee freshman. And so far, Thomas says, his speed sticking out among his fellow players already.
“Conditioning is going great,’ Thomas said. “I see my speed has stuck out among others because that is what they came up to me and asked what I was running. In the weight room, I got to get stronger.”
And the plan is to get stronger, says Thomas, who pointed out if he adds more muscle then he anticipates on getting even faster later this year.
“We were just conditioning and I was just running fast and I told what I ran in the forty time and (was told) if I get my legs stronger than I possibly can get down to a 4.2 or 4.3, so that is my goal,” Thomas said. “I’m 6-0, 171 and he said I got good playing weight because the defensive backs last year were no bigger than 177. (I was told) if I put on a few more pounds of muscle to 174 or 175, then I’ll be good.”
Nike Opening Experience
Out in Beaverton, Ore., Thomas had his first experience in the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, while he wasn’t a commit at the time, he heard a certain OSU WR commit talking trash about U-M star cornerback Jourdan Lewis, and Thomas didn’t take it lightly.
“The defense had just got off the field and their offensive receiver like nobody on our team, we all talked about (Lewis), like ‘man, we don’t really think he is that good,’ and he had said something slick to J.D.,” Thomas recalled. “I overheard and I’m just listening and knowing how J.D. is, he’s a dog just like me, but he’s a bigger person than a high school player.
“He kind of step down, but me being a high school player, I thought like nah you are not about to disrespect him, not in front of me and you are going to that school down there. I just got real mad and said a few words to him and that was that.
“I told him I will see him on the field.”
At The Opening, Thomas also showed the football recruiting world that he was true two-way threat, playing wide receiver when his team was lacking depth due to injury.
“Right after that first day, I told them with Nico (Collins) down and Donovan (Peoples-Jones) was done to put me at receiver,” Thomas said. “Coach he laughed about it. I’m like ‘I’m so serious.’
“So the next day he came back and said you got what you wanted and will be going both ways. Nico had came up to me and was like, ‘bro, can you really play receiver?’ And started laughing at me. I was like watch this and I had put on a show. I just felt like I had something to prove out there and I wanted us to win like it was a Michigan team and I don’t like losing. We made it far and I helped the team out a lot.”
Brice Marich contributed to this story