Decision soon from 'Puff'

Winston-Salem (N.C.) Carver head coach Keith Wilkes expects his stud-lineman Isaiah "Puff" Thomas to have his college decision on Monday.

Isaiah Thomas, who will choose from North Carolina, N.C. State and Tennessee, will also celebrate his birthday on Monday.

Wilkes said he is starting to see the stress take its toll on Thomas.

"I know he is the one they are waiting on," Wilkes said Thursday morning. "I have heard he wants to decide on his birthday, so it might be then. I told him it's getting down to crunch-time and he has to decide."

Thomas is scheduled to take his last official visit to Tennessee this weekend, and as was the case on his visits to UNC and N.C. State, his parents will accompany him to Knoxville.

"His parents are playing a big role; they have been on all the visits," Wilkes said. "I think they want him to stay close to home so that could be a factor."

Thomas has things he likes about all three schools and has become attached to all three coaching staffs, according to Wilkes.

"He hasn't really led me to believe he has a clear leader right now. I told him once he makes his decision, all the stress will be off of him."

Thomas, a 6-3, 290 pound lineman, would be a huge addition to an already talented recruiting class for the Tar Heels. Of course, he would be a huge pickup for N.C. State and Tennessee.

N.C. State, like UNC, would like to keep Thomas home in the Tar Heel state, while Tennessee would love to steal him and exact some revenge against UNC, which picked up verbal commitments from two Tennessee high school stars -- linebacker Fred Sparkman and wide receiver Adarius Bowman.

Thomas has consistently said it was a three-team race between his final three. At one point, he dropped UNC behind the Wolfpack and Volunteers after UNC coach John Bunting didn't retain line coach Rod Broadway, who has since landed the head coaching spot at North Carolina Central University. Bunting replaced Broadway with North Carolina-native Brad Lawing, who quickly made up lost ground with Thomas.

Check back in with Inside Carolina for the latest on Thomas and all the other UNC recruits, as the Feb. 5th signing day approaches.

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