Full-Court Press On Thomas

It's starting to seem like every time Carlton Thomas looks at his phone, it's a coach from Notre Dame calling. The four-star running back from Frostproof Middle High in Florida was originally being courted by Irish assistant coach Bernie Parmalee, but recently Thomas has been getting regular calls from offensive coordinator Mike Haywood, and every other week or so from head coach Charlie Weis.

Notre Dame is giving Carlton Thomas the most love, so it's no surprise the very elusive 5-foot-7, 175-pound back currently lists the Irish as his favorite over Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Iowa and West Virginia.

"I just appreciate the coaches keeping in contact with me," Thomas said. "It's really helping a lot."

Thomas, who plans to make his college decision in October, says he will visit Notre Dame officially in September, probably for the Michigan State game. He also wants to see Iowa and West Virginia before making a choice. He has been to his other three favorites.

Parmalee and Haywood have been tag-teaming Thomas with the regular conversation coaches have with recruits.

"They just keeping me updated on how everything is going up there," Thomas said. "Just nice conversations seeing how I'm doing, how my family is doing, and how everything is going with recruiting."

It really impresses Thomas every time Weis gives him a buzz.

"He just lets me know how Notre Dame feels about me," Thomas said. "He just tells me they really want me to take an official visit up there and see how the facilities are up there, and that there is a real strong possibility I can play my freshman year.

"Notre Dame is still the leader. They have a lot to offer and I really like the coaches and the experience they bring to the game and bring to me as a player. They all tell me they are not out looking for many backs, just a couple or one back that is going to get the job done. They like me and they want to see what I can do. I am the back they're looking at."

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

This summer, Thomas got a chance to check out Georgia, Clemson and Auburn.

On Georgia: "I was really really impressed. The campus, the coaches really impressed me. I didn't really expect to see some of the things I saw. Just the atmosphere of the campus. The facilities, the dorms, how they handle the student-athletes from an education standpoint."

On Clemson: "Georgia and Clemson, they were very similar to me in a lot of ways. I liked my visit there."

On Auburn: I like Auburn. It was okay. I was impressed by all three. Auburn stood out a little I guess because I attended camp and I got to see how the running backs coach coached the backs."

Thomas won't stop by any other schools this summer, and is looking forward to his senior season at Frostproof.


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