Living The Dream

Playing in a wing-t offense as a freshman, quarterback Peter Thomas often wondered what it'd be like to play in a set that allowed him to chuck the football 20 or 30 times per game.

The next season, dream became reality, with new head coach Steve Sutton coming to the El Cajon (Calif.) Valhalla High with his spread offense.

However, it was a dream that quickly turned into a nightmare.

Peter Thomas and his El Cajon (Calif.) Valhalla teammates struggled to a 2-7 record, having troubles learning the new scheme Sutton was implementing.

"We didn't know what we were doing the whole year," Thomas laughed.

Thomas and company definitely know what they're doing now.

After throwing for 1,960 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore, Thomas followed that up with an amazing junior campaign. He completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,161 yards and 28 touchdowns, leading the Norsemen to an 11-2 record and the CIF championship game. He also rushed for six more scores, and only tossed five interceptions.

"Just being a lot more comfortable with the offense was real huge," the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Thomas said. "I also hit the weight room real hard, trying to get stronger, bigger and faster.

"Mainly, I got a lot quicker, and my scrambling ability and pocket movement drastically improved. I got a lot stronger, which I think helped my accuracy and arm strength."

College recruiters have noticed.

Thomas has received written scholarship offers from Arizona State, Northwestern, Boston College and Maryland. The four-star prospect and top-100 player is also hearing from places like USC, UCLA, Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Arizona and Notre Dame.

Just before National Signing Day for the class-of-2009, Irish assistant coach Brian Polian stopped by Valhalla.

"I haven't really been in direct contact with coach Polian," Thomas said. "I called him and emailed him a few days ago, and he hasn't gotten back to me. But I've been receiving a few letters from them a week."

Thomas recently sent the Notre Dame staff a copy of his film, and hopes to hear back soon.

"I'm very interested in Notre Dame," Thomas stated. "I've always liked Notre Dame since Brady Quinn was there. When Charlie Weis got there, he started running an actual pro offense, and that furthered my interest even more. With what he's already done with Jimmy Clausen, and with the recruiting classes he's bringing in, I'm very interested."

Thomas has gotten out and seen a lot of schools. He's made visits to Boston College, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M and Arizona. In mid-April, he is going out to Maryland and N.C. State. Thomas also plans to see Arizona State and Northwestern at some point.

"We don't have a date planned for Northwestern, but if Notre Dame was interested and did offer or something, we'd definitely go visit them," Thomas explained.

Thomas' father played one year of football at West Point. He has an older brother that wrestles at Air Force. His cousin Stephen Neal is the starting right guard for the New England Patriots. Weis was Neal's offensive coordinator before taking the job at Notre Dame.

"Whenever I talk to him about it, he says nothing but good things about coach Weis, and that only furthered my interest in Notre Dame," Thomas said.

Thomas would like to be verbally committed somewhere before the start of his senior season.

"Definitely academics," Thomas said of the first thing he is looking for in a school. He's thinking about majoring in business or sports communications. "A school that has the major I'd like to major in. The campus, just overall how I feel. The coaches, the relationship you have with the coaches is a big thing. I'd say the coaches and the tradition of the school both academically and athletically." Top Stories