Parmalee Made Two Trips To See Thomas

Notre Dame assistant coach Bernie Parmalee made two trips to Frostproof High in Florida last month to see running back Carlton Thomas. One time head coach Charlie Weis accompanied him, the other time it was offensive coordinator Michael Haywood. On top of that, Thomas and Parmalee text at least one time per week.

"Him and coach Weis just watched me practice," the 5-foot-7, 175-pound Carlton Thomas said. "Him and coach Haywood came down and talked to me. They just let me know how it was going to be, that if I could get everything together, I could get on the field as soon as my freshman year.

"The visits show me they have a lot of interest in me. That the school has a lot of interest in me, that coach Weis came down personally to see me."

Thomas has a lot of interest in Notre Dame, recently naming the Irish, Auburn, Iowa, West Virginia and USC as his current top five in no particular order. Thomas still plans to visit Notre Dame for the first time during his senior season's bye week.

Last season, Thomas helped his team to a 7-3 record by rushing for 2,283 yards and 25 touchdowns, mostly sitting out the fourth quarter. The very shifty and elusive runner led Polk County in yards rushing, edging out Florida signee and U.S. Army All-American Chris Rainey.

With the recent string of talented running backs the Irish have brought in the last two seasons, James Aldridge in 2006, and Armando Allen and Robert Hughes in 2007, Notre Dame will probably ink just one running back this time around.

The Notre Dame coaches have given Thomas the inkling that he could come in and play right away, and that's huge when one of the elements in Thomas's decision is depth chart and how many players he will have to compete with for time.

"It's pretty big, but not that really big," Thomas said. He might not make a college decision until signing day. "I want to make sure I'm not getting into a situation where the running back spot is outrageously full of talent. I want to see if I can get on the field as soon as possible."

Thomas said he isn't scared of competition, he just doesn't want to compete with five guys for playing time.

During the spring, Thomas just tried to practice how he always does despite the eyes from of many coaches from some of the top schools in the country watching.

"I found out a lot of good things about the team," Thomas said. "The defense played awesome. The offense looked good, we just have to work on keeping the penalties and the mental mistakes down. We have to get our linemen stronger up front."

Thomas will be running behind three new starters in the fall.

On top of spring football, Thomas also ran track. He was a state qualifier in the long jump, and his best mark is 23 feet, six inches. He also has run the 100-meter dash in 10.7 seconds, but did not make it to state with that fast time.

"There were guys running 10.3s down there," he stated.

Now that summer is finally here, Thomas will make unofficial visits to Auburn, West Virginia, Clemson, Tennessee and Arkansas over the next couple months. Top Stories