Notre Dame Offers Carlton Thomas

Notre Dame assistant coach Bernie Parmalee called Frostproof Middle~Senior High coach Brad Metheny last Monday, asking him to FedEx film of his star running back Carlton Thomas up north, so they could evaluate him during a running backs meeting on Tuesday. Not only did the Irish coaches love one of Florida's finest, they said he is the best back they've seen on film, and offered him a scholarship.

"Coach Parmalee called me back and said doggone coach you weren't lying, he is pretty good," Metheny said. Auburn, West Virginia, Arkansas, Arizona State, and Connecticut thought so also, and have offered scholarships. Ohio State and Florida State have been expressing extreme interest. "He said, we thought we had seen the best and he is the best we've seen on film all year. We are going to take this to (head) coach (Charlie) Weis, and they called on Friday and made the offer."

The 5-foot-7, 175-pound Thomas ran for 2,283 yards and 25 touchdowns this past season, edging out Florida signee, and one of the nation's best running backs Chris Rainey for most yards rushing in Polk County. The elusive Thomas averaged 231 yards rushing per game, even though Metheny had to call the dogs off by the fourth quarter in half the team's games. Frostproof finished 7-3, just missing the state playoffs.

Thomas was hoping for Notre Dame to show interest in him, and then last week happened. Next thing he knew, he was talking with Parmalee and Weis on Friday for the first time.

"Me and (Weis) got into a conversation about if I would be afraid to leave the state," Thomas said. "I said no, it wouldn't be a problem, I just want to play football. He was asking me about how I like to play the game. He asked me if I know about the program, and him and his success in the NFL. I said that it is amazing to me how he runs his offense, and how he won those Super Bowls and everything.

"(Parmalee) was just telling me he got my film, and I was exciting to watch on film, and I reminded him of a lot of great running backs. He asked me if I was interested in the offer and I said yeah I was very interested. He said he would keep in touch."

Metheny said Thomas could've rushed for 3,000 yards this past season, if he would've played him for four quarters in every game. Thomas said there were a lot of runs that on his way to the end zone, he was thinking, how did I just do that.

"About every fifth or sixth time he touched the ball it seemed like he went the distance," Metheny stated.

"He is just amazing as far as his agility, making people miss, vision and making the right cut and that right move leaving people standing. He is a great elusive back. Even though he is small, he runs extremely hard and breaks a lot of tackles. He is special. We didn't use him enough as a pass receiver. We are going to use him more in that realm as a pass receiver this year.

"(Arkansas head coach) Houston Nutt compared him to Barry Sanders coming out of high school."

Thomas is small, but powerful. The high school junior bench presses 315 pounds and squats 445 pounds, on top of his 4.48 speed in the 40-yard dash. He has a 3.4 GPA on top of that.

"I'm a complete back," Thomas said. "I cant explain my running style, because I feel I can do it all. My vision, my speed, my ability to make people miss."

Thomas and Metheny have already decided to take an official visit to Notre Dame during Frostproof's open date next fall.

Last weekend, Thomas was in Tallahassee for Florida State's junior day.

"I enjoyed it, it was a nice experience getting to see a college," Thomas said.

Thomas also took in Florida's 62-0 thrashing of Western Carolina at The Swamp last season.

"It was crazy man," he stated. "That's a big stadium."

Thomas lists his current favorites as the schools that have offered.

"I'm looking for good academics, competitiveness in the bowls and conference play, and tradition of the team." Top Stories