I caught up with Joe Thomas' Dad and spoke with him last night to get an idea of where Joe is the process. "Joe really enjoyed the game. It was nice to meet a lot of the other parents and players. He got to know Brian Mattison a lot better. I felt bad for Coach Mattison because he had to stay away from everyone because of the rules. He was there with his wife and it would have been nice to be able to talk to them."
Joe has two visits remaining. Has he set his final two? "He is going to Kansas on January 24th. He hasn't set his final visit yet. I know he wants to meet the new throws coach at Notre Dame. He just started officially yesterday and he needs to get NCAA clearance before he can even talk to anyone."
I didn't realize track was as big of a factor as it is to Joe. How big of a factor will it play in his decision? "Joe is really focused on track and wants to do both in college. He had the longest throw in the country last year. He wants to train for the 2008 Olympics so a good coach training him is important. Notre Dame hiring a throws coach was kind of the final criteria. We feel very comfortable with the coaches and Coach Mattison and Coach Willingham. We feel very comfortable with the academics of course. The throws coach was the final criteria."
The remaining question then is will Joe visit Notre Dame officially? "It wouldn't surprise me if he did. Meeting this coach is very important to Joe. If he doesn't visit there officially, he will unofficially because he wants to meet this coach. Notre Dame has never been a powerhouse in the throws in track. If they get a guy like Joe there, he could help build that. The other schools he is looking at have solid track programs. He is visiting Kansas because they have a great throws coach. Stanford has one too. Wisconsin doesn't have a throws coach. They just have a field events coach. Nebraska has a nice indoor track facility and they have a good coach there. He wants to meet the Notre Dame coach soon."
Joe doesn't have any in-home visits lined up in the near future. He is playing basketball and time is a factor in taking these visits. It's ironic that a coach not associated with Notre Dame football could be the extra something that pushes him to Notre Dame.