Thomas: "I'm Ready For The Challenge"

Heritage (NC) wide receiver Thayer Thomas signed with NC State on Tuesday, and he talks about why with Pack Pride.

Thayer Thomas has played three sports his entire life, but as his career at Heritage (NC) High School came to a close, he knew he had to make a decision.

What sport would he play in college? 

Thomas starred at wide receiver for the football team, played point guard for the Husky basketball team, and is currently batting over .500 on the diamond so he had options.

"Really it was going to be football or baseball," said Thomas.  "For baseball I had an offer from Davidson and Charlotte offered me a roster spot... I had it narrowed down to them.  In football, I had NC State, Wake Forest, and Marshall... preferred walk-on spots.  

"I narrowed it down to NC State and Davidson a few weeks ago before choosing NC State.  I decided that I really wanted to play football there. I know they take pride in their preferred walk-ons and they think I'm a guy who can come in there and compete.  I'm ready for the challenge." 

Thomas added that he finalized his decision the last couple of weeks, and actually was leaning to Davidson before a late visit changed his mind.

"I was set on going to Davidson before this opportunity really came along and I visited," he stated.  "It was Davidson, but I visited and met with all the coaches, heard their plan. I knew that was what I wanted to do.  They are so organized and prepared over there, and that's how I am so it's a great fit. I'm structured with my workouts and plan, and I think that will help me maximize my abilities... going to NC State, it's all about academics and training."

He expanded on why he chose NC State. 

"It's next to home, and I don't have to go far away," he said.  "My coaches at Heritage, Dwayne Washington and Tory Holt, are NC State graduates and they talk about how great the place is and the great experiences they had there.  Also, coach Doeren and coach Kitchings had a big impact on me... everything we've talked about."

While Thomas will focus on football, he is hoping there will be an opportunity to contribute on the diamond for the Wolfpack.

"I've had a strong senior year," he said.  "I'm hitting above .500 and recently more colleges for baseball took an interest in me.  I've talked to coach Doeren and coach Kitchings about possibly playing both... my coaches and mentors have talked to coach Avent about it. I'm hoping that is something I'll eventually be able to do."

Thomas comes from a football family.  His father, Trevor Thomas, played four years at Marshall where he competed for played in three I-AA championship games. However, he's always played three sports and he believes that, and an injury his junior year, impacted his recruitment.

"I was always going from AAU basketball to baseball to football so I've never really had an offseason," he said.  "I think that put some stress on my body and I've not been able to get as big as I'd like. Now I believe I can get even bigger with focusing more on football.

"Also, my junior year, I played in six games before breaking my collarbone.  I think that halted my recruitment, so I'm sort of a late-bloomer."

Thomas really turned it on as a senior.  He totaled 73 catches for 965 yards and seven scores, and Thomas played a huge role in the Huskies reaching the third round of the playoffs.  Heritage features talented prospects such as NC State commitment Ricky Person and Duke verbal Gunnar Holmberg, and Thomas believes Person's commitment played a role in him ending up at NC State.

"I wasn't really hearing much from NC State and coach Doeren came to our homecoming game to watch Ricky play," said Thomas.  "I had a big game... I think over 100 yards and a touchdown or two, and it caught his eye. After the game he sent coach Holt a cool text message about how well I played, and that started my relationship with NC State. It makes me wonder if it was a perfect time or situation for me... him coming to that game."

NC State is recruiting Thomas to play slot receiver. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder will also be doing some recruiting of his own.  His younger brother, Drake Thomas, is one of the state's top 2019 prospects, and the big-time linebacker already holds a scholarship offer from NC State.  

Is there a chance the brothers play together on the next level?

"We've already talked some about that," said Thomas.  "I fee like whatever offers he gets, I know NC State is high on Drake's list.  He just has to keep working hard and continue to improve. I would love for him to join me at NC State.

"At first I thought Drake was really underrated, but now he's starting to get a lot of offers.  He has such good football instincts.  Nobody has instincts like him.  I try to play with the same mentality he does, but I don't think there's anybody tougher than him out there."

Thomas plans on arriving at NC State early this summer, and he is ready to get to work with the Wolfpack.

"I'm really excited about it," he said.  "Coach Kitchings and coach Doeren said it would be best if I came as early as possible so I plan to get there around June 20th for the first summer session.  I can't wait."

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