Travis Thomas has taken the next step towards his dream by enrolling at Notre Dame. Thomas says he's not finished yet, however. "It's a dream come true, but it still hasn't hit me because I'm not playing yet," said Thomas. "Once I get on the field that will be a whole different experience."
Thomas says he's adjusting to life at Notre Dame so far. "I'm definitely enjoying it. It's a new experience. I'm still picking up on things, but I'm young. Playing on the scout team is really getting me prepared for next year."
Julius Jones and Ryan Grant have become mentors for Thomas, and he says they've helped him a lot this year. "They were like big brothers from day one--taking me in, showing me tips here and there, and making me a better player. They are trying to help me so when I get my chance here, I can be a better player."
Being a freshman football player is never easy, especially when you are not playing. Thomas says he's adjusted to living in South Bend and is starting to enjoy the social aspects of Notre Dame. "The social life is a little different. You just have to make the best of what you have because you have to look at the long run. You have to really believe that you are going to benefit from your experience here. I try to enjoy myself as much as I can with what time I have."
Thomas has already created a buzz about his abilities on the scout team. Thomas said he worked very hard in the summer to prepare himself for playing football at Notre Dame. "I lifted and ran a lot. I'm a determined guy. I wanted to get as big as possible, as strong as possible, and still keep my speed. I just trained my butt off as hard as I could."
One area that Thomas excels is pass-blocking. Both Coach Willingham and Coach Preston have praised Thomas for his blocking abilities. "Blocking is definitely an attitude. That's something I did a lot of in high school. I pass blocked a lot and I tried to carry that on when I got here. The technique is a little different. That was hard to pick up on at first. It's really all an attitude."
Seeing Julius Jones run wild this year has Thomas chomping at the bit to get on the field. "That definitely gets me motivated because I know that one day that if I keep working that that could be me out there. I'm just looking forward to showing what I can do out there."
Thomas is also know as a good receiver out of the backfield—something the Irish could really use. "In high school, I did go out for a lot of passes. That was one thing the coaches liked about me. I hope that something I can bring to the table. I can catch the ball pretty well."
Thomas looks about as big as Julius Jones right now. We asked him what he currently weighed at this point. "I'm 208 right now. I came in at 195. I'm working with Mick right now and I'm staying steady at about 208 right now and I feel good. I want to be as big as I possibly can be without losing any speed. I'd say around 210 or 212 is where I'd like to be next year."
The buzz has been strong all season about the potential of Thomas. Somebody will need to replace Julius Jones as the second back in the rotation. Thomas doesn't appear to have the elusiveness that Jones possesses, but he does have similar speed and runs very hard at the point of attack. We expect to see a lot of Travis Thomas next year.