Speed In The Heartland

Kickoffs at Shawnee Mission East games should be exciting, but they never are. Terrance Thomas, the defending champ in the 100-meter dash in the state of Kansas, stands back and watches the football get pooched, squibbed, and kicked as far away from him as possible. One of the fastest players in the country, Thomas will be one of the most sought after recruits from the nation's heartland.

Thomas already has a scholarship offer from Kansas State, and is receiving strong interest from Wisconsin and Iowa. Notre Dame has the 6-foot, 170-pound cornerback on its regular mailing list.

"He has special speed, that my god, it's just one of those things as a coach I don't see a lot of that at my place," head coach John Stonner said. "He has a 4.37 speed in the 40(-yard dash), and 10.4 speed in the 100(-meter dash), and he is really a smart young man."

That 10.4 is a laser time from Thomas's winning sprint at the 6-A state meet. That time would've won all six Kansas classes.

Thomas only ran the 100 and not more events last spring, because he has an Achilles tendon strain. Thomas's prep career has been hampered by injury. He missed most of his sophomore football season with injury. He played this season with a shoulder injury, holding him to strictly playing defense. The injury bug has hit him on the hardwood, where Thomas rolled his ankle and had to play through that.

"I didn't run track my freshman year because I tore my ACL," Thomas said.

Thomas is healthy now and as a reserve on the basketball team, has helped his team make a run deep into the state tournament. This spring, he will run the 200 and the 400 relay, as well as defend his state title in the 100.

What Thomas is really looking forward to is a healthy football season. This past year, he intercepted five passes, despite the fact that just like kickoffs, the ball rarely came his way.

"My ability to recover on receivers," Thomas said of his strength. "If I read the play wrong, I have good enough speed to come back and make up on the play."

"Just the speed, he can just lock onto people," Stonner said. "You put him on the best receiver out there, and you can play zone with everyone else, and cover one with him."

Thomas's injuries have kept him off the field enough, that Stonner hasn't been able to get consistent film on him. Schools are liking the limited tape they have seen, including Notre Dame.

"(Notre Dame graduate assistant) Shane (Waldron) said they like what they've seen, but are concerned with Terrance's GPA," Stonner said. Thomas has just a 2.0 GPA, but has really been hitting the books to raise his GPA this semester going into his senior year. "But Terrance is a young man that is going to go somewhere, and his GPA does not reflect his ability or how smart he really is."

Thomas would like to put himself in a position academically, to give him a chance to go to a school like Notre Dame. Especially because, in the area Thomas is from, they put out as many Ivy League caliber students as they do Division I athletes.

"They are a very prestigious program as far as football goes, and their basketball team isn't too bad this year," Thomas said. "Their football team is getting good. They probably didn't have the season they wanted this year, but they're good. I'd love to play football up there."

Thomas also said he'd like to play in a warm environment, and would also like to run track at whatever school he decides.

"The biggest school that has sent me stuff is Florida and UCLA," Thomas said regarding track. "A bunch of Big 12 schools have sent me stuff like Texas Tech."

Thomas reported a bench press of 235 pounds and a squat of 400 pounds. He also said he will probably return punts this fall. That will give the opposition another opportunity to kick the ball away from Thomas.

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