L.T. Thomas Recruiting Update

New Smyrna Beach (FL) HS wide receiver L.T. Thomas' guardian Andy Cox provided the latest on LT's recruitment.

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According to Andy, a successful college and XFL football coach, LT recently took an official visit to Louisville.

"He went on the Louisville visit (December 10th)," said Andy, who took an unofficial visit with LT to Louisville this past summer. "He enjoyed it and had a good time. He went to a basketball game."

As for other official visits, LT has two, possibly three, on his agenda.

"The 13th (of January) he goes to South Carolina, and the 20th is Mississippi State," said Andy. "He has to work with West Virginia. He wants to go there, but he is going to take the ACT that day."

LT, who has offers from West Virginia, Mississippi State, Louisville, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, Central Florida and Florida, has had several in-home visits recently.

"From Louisville, it was (assistant coaches) Tony Levine and Jeff Brohm," said Andy. "(Jeff) was our quarterback coach with the XFL. (Assistant coach Billy) Gonzales came from Florida. (Head coach) Sylvester Croom, (assistant coaches) Woody McCorvey and Shane Beamer (from MSU). And (assistant coach) Herb Hand from West Virginia."

While some might expect Andy to sit down with LT when the coaches are visiting, he didn't. He explained why.

"No, I don't sit in there because the kid needs to talk and he won't talk around me," said Andy. "He wants me to do it for him."

Each Sunday, Andy and LT talk about LT's recruitment. One of the things they talked about were the in-home visits. Based on that conversation, Andy seems to feel that two teams now lead the pack.

"It is a dead heat between Louisville and Mississippi State," said Andy, who goes by the nickname Coxey. "I feel (LT) would say the same thing."

Andy discussed both schools.

Louisville - "He really likes Louisville. He likes what they are doing on offense, likes the city. If he wants to be a great football player, that's a great place to go. If I had to hire a quarterback coach, I would hire Jeff Brohm. I sat on a plane from LA to Orlando with him. He is as smart and as good as anybody that I have been around."

Mississippi State - "Coach Croom and Woody did a great job of explaining the offense to him. I have the utmost respect for Coach Croom and Woody McCorvey. They went back to (LT's) bedroom and watched his highlight tape. Coach Croom said something to him that made even me stand back a little bit. He said, 'look son, I've never had a home visit like this. They told me that Coxey is one of a kind. But I'm going to tell you right now, I did this for 17 years in the NFL and I just watched highlight video of you son, and they need to take the word freak from (3-time Pro Bowl DE selection) Jevon Kearse and give it to you. Your best years are ahead of you. You are special.' (LT) went into (the in-home visit) a little bit like I'm doing this just to do it, but by the end he was very, very impressed. They talked for two hours. And when they left, the kid was impressed. He was impressed by Coach Croom."

BTW, I learned, while talking to Andy, why Coach Croom said Coxey is one of a kind. He told me several stories about his life with his late parents and his life as a football coach, a sport he would love to coach again one day once his diabetes is under control. I'll give you a sample of the stories he told.

"When I was 15 years old, they removed my mom's right breast," said Andy. "And this is the greatest quote ever. They said Mrs. Cox - the doctors, my sister and me were all in there - you are not going to see your son graduate from high school. She didn't flinch when she said, 'what, is he stupid?' So, I've been getting up and getting it everyday."

Despite what the doctors told her, she saw her son graduate.

Andy, who took a leave of absence from coaching to take care of his ailing father, took LT into his home a little over a year ago when LT, whose mother has passed away, had run out of options and was living under a bridge. He's teaching the values his mom and dad left him to LT, a young man who has had to deal with more hard knocks in his young life than most folks will deal with during their entire lifetime.

[Editor's Note: Andy agreed to do the interview because LT was participating in an All-Star game in Ocala.]

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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