Will Thomas Be Part of a Renaissance Package?

Detroit Renaissance LB/ATH Ishmael Thomas is being courted by a number of programs across the Midwest including Michigan. The versatile youngster discusses the latest in his recruitment, his recent visit to Ann Arbor, the chances that he and Mylan Hicks will attend the same school, and much much more.

Sam Webb:  Let's talk about your Junior Day visit to Michigan.  How did that go for you?

Ishmael Thomas:  "Man it was fun.  We got to see the Night of Champions up there.  We talked to all the players.  I know most of the team.  I went school with most of them, played Little League with them.  So it is kind of a reunion mess around with all of your friends."

Sam Webb:  Was that really your first opportunity to meet and interact with the coaching staff or had you been talking to them before that?

Ishmael Thomas:  "I've been talking to Coach Dews on and off, but that was the only time I talked to the coaching staff as a whole."

Sam Webb:  While you were up there, what were they saying to you about how and where they see you fitting in?

Ishmael Thomas:  "I talked to one of the coaches and he told me that basically right now they are trying any way to get me in, whichever way is easiest.  After I get figure out where I would play because right now they kind between me playing linebacker and strong safety."

Sam Webb:  Do you have a preference regarding what position you will play?

Ishmael Thomas:  "I don't have a preference.  I will play wherever they put me."

Sam Webb:  When you're on the football field, there is not a position out of one of those that you feel most comfortable with?

Ishmael Thomas:  "I like linebacker, because I like contact.  I like contact and I get it all the time at linebacker."

Sam Webb:  I want you to give me your own sort of self scouting report.  You're in the stands and you're watching Ishmael Thomas on the field.  What do you see? 

Ishmael Thomas:  "The first thing I see is versatility.  Ever since I started playing Little League, I've never played one specific position.  It's like very year I come back and trying to find what position I'm going to play, because I can play so many.  Because of my size I can move around from the line to the way back to defensive back.  That's the thing I look at when I see myself."

Sam Webb:  What do you need to improve on?

Ishmael Thomas:  "I need to improve on my speed a little and agility.  I need to get a little bigger.  I've been lifting weights.  It is coming along."

Sam Webb:  What is your height, your weight and 40 time at this time?

Ishmael Thomas:  "Right now, my weight is 207, the last time I looked.  I am 6'4 1/2" and last 40 time I ran I think it was a 4.62 or a 4.64.  I can't remember exactly."

Sam Webb:  Aside from that visit to Michigan, have you made it to any other schools for trips?

Ishmael Thomas:  "I was at Notre Dame a while back for that game against Pittsburgh; we got to go up there and watch that game.  I got a couple other trips coming up in the next couple of weeks."

Sam Webb:  Where to?

Ishmael Thomas:  "I'm going to Iowa, back to Notre Dame and to Michigan State."

Sam Webb:  Are those the main schools that are talking to you right now?

Ishmael Thomas:  "Yes."

Sam Webb:  Did you grow up a fan of any particular school?

Ishmael Thomas:  "Not really, not really.  I mean I just like football."

Sam Webb:  Let's assume for the sake of argument that you are getting ready to sit down and make your decision; what are going to be those factors that are going to play into that choice?

Ishmael Thomas:  "The first factor is education, because that's what I've been basing my whole life on.  That's what I've been doing since I was real little, trying to get the best education ever. After that it would probably be athletics, because I want to go somewhere were I will be able to play, be on a winning team, and have a winning tradition.  After that is probably just campus life -- going somewhere where there is a city around because you know I'm a city boy and I want to be able to have a real good social life."

Sam Webb:  Do you have a timeline for when you would like to make a decision?

Ishmael Thomas:  "I don't have a timeline.  If it was up to me, I would probably wait until maybe the last minute, not the last, last minute but as far as I can so I can make sure that the school I am picking is the school that I actually want to go to."

Sam Webb:  Obviously last year, Chris (Norman) he committed real early to Michigan State.  He knew where he wanted to go right away.  Was there anything about that that you saw as being an advantage? 

Ishmael Thomas:  "It's an advantage because you don't have to worry about what school you want to go to and worry about…looking good for this school or looking good for that school that's the good part.  But the bad part is you might get to the school and find out that there is something that you don't like, while you going there, you can go somewhere else that had what you wanted."

Sam Webb:  Now I am going to say those four schools that you mentioned and I just want you to talk to me about what you like and what you need to find out about each of those schools; let's start off with the out of the state schools – Iowa, what about them?

Ishmael Thomas:  "I haven't went up there yet, but I talked to the coaches a couple of times.  It seems like a nice program.  They keep telling me about how most of their players go to the league and stuff like that.  That's about it."

Sam Webb:  What about Notre Dame?

Ishmael Thomas:  "Notre Dame – the first thing that pulled me was the education.  It's a school that is known for their education.  They have one of the best finance programs, which I am going into to.  The football team is pretty good too.  That's probably about it for Notre Dame."

Sam Webb:  Vanderbilt?

Ishmael Thomas:  "Vanderbilt, yes.  I kind of forgot about them.  They're definitely not at the bottom of my list.  They did give a friend from my team a scholarship offer and they said they wanted me to come down next time with him.  I don't know if I'll be getting the same, but they're interested in me.  So I go on down there and find out about them."

Sam Webb:  Michigan State?

Ishmael Thomas:  "Michigan State is not really on me as much as every other school, but they are talking to me based off what Chris (Norman) and Dana (Dixon) saying about me.  We got a good talent at the school and stuff like that.  I think they are starting to see what they are talking about, so they are starting to get a little more interested."

Sam Webb:  Michigan?

Ishmael Thomas:  "Michigan – well Michigan's finance program, academics; I've always heard that if you get a degree from Michigan, you set for life.  On the football scene, they got a great winning tradition and it's close to home.  So any problems I have, I can just go right back home.  I got the city of Detroit where I grew up and I can go back and do whatever I want to do.  That's about it."

Sam Webb:  What do you and your teammates talk about? Obviously you've got Chris and Dana up at Michigan State, but you, Lawrence (Thomas), and Mylan (Hicks)… you guys are back here.  Does them being at Michigan State have an impact on you guys or are you guys trying to your own thing?

Ishmael Thomas:  "It really doesn't have an impact because at the end it is all fun and games with football.  It might be good to play against them in college, but we haven't really said, ‘okay, we all going to the same school.'  If it happens, it happens, but we all going basically going where we feel is best for ourselves."

Sam Webb:  Leaving Chris and Dana out of it then…, do you Mylan and Lawrence ever talk about just you three going to the same school?

Ishmael Thomas:  "Yeah we talked about it.  It's a possibility, but the school that we pick, everybody has to agree based on….you can't just say, okay we all going here because he went here and he went there.  If it happens, it's good because we get to stay with your teammate, have a good relationship."

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