Thomas Says He's Ready To Verbal To OSU

West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West defensive end Solomon Thomas helped lead his Firebirds team to a 13-12 win in Friday's season opener against Cincinnati Moeller. Following the game, Thomas talked about how he is ready to end the suspense and make a verbal commitment to Ohio State. Click here for more.

West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West defensive end Solomon Thomas was excited about a lot of things following Friday's night's season opening game against Cincinnati Moeller.

The 6-5, 220-pound Thomas was happy because his Firebirds held on for a dramatic 13-12 win over Moeller in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown at Miami University.

But Thomas was also ecstatic over the fact that he has apparently settled on Ohio State as his college of choice.

"Ohio State is my number one choice right now," Thomas said. "I planned on committing this week, but it just didn't work out. I need to get into the classroom and improve my ACT. Ohio State can expect a verbal commitment in the next couple of weeks."

Thomas, rated as the No. 6 player in Ohio by Ohio High magazine, discussed what he wants to accomplish before he formally pulls the trigger.

"I want to get prepared for the ACT a little more," Thomas said. "I love Ohio State. They have been the school that has put out their arm and accepted me the most."

Thomas tallied a team-high eight tackles (five solos) and forced a fumble for Lakota West. He was named as the game MVP.

"This was on our defense," Thomas said. "I'm shocked I got the player of the game. I want our defense to get it. In my opinion, I didn't do good tonight. I'm real hard on myself. It was that defense – our linebackers and defensive backs. I'm excited for the W, but I have to work harder. This was not up to my standards."

Thomas made light of the fact that he had predicted that Lakota West would pull out the win.

"I guaranteed a victory," Thomas said. "I was the laughingstock of Cincinnati for 24 hours. But we did it. It's beautiful. School spirit is great."

As a junior, Thomas tallied 58 tackles (second on team) with 30 solos, 13 tackles-for-loss, seven sacks, nine pass break-ups and one fumble forced last season. Lakota West was 7-3 on the season.

But Thomas was mad that he did not register a sack against Moeller.

"I didn't get any sacks tonight," he said. "That's not impressive. I'm supposed to be a sack leader in this area. I need to work on staying low. That starts in practice tomorrow."

Thomas came out of the blocks strong, forcing a fumble on the game's first play.

"College coaches talk about playing with a high motor," Thomas said. "That's how I have to get a lot of my plays. I have to run after the ball and make hits."

Thomas also has offers on the table from N.C. State, Georgia Tech and Tennessee. But a visit to Ohio State in early August helped Thomas make up his mind.

"Coach Tressel was in Chicago for the Big Ten meetings, so I missed him," Thomas said. "But I got to tour the facilities and it was really a lot about the academics there. Up at Ohio State, it's all about academics. It's rarely about football. That stands out. No other school that I have an offer from has shown me that.

"Over the last couple of weeks, it's been a big thing pushing my dad toward Ohio State. It is a good school."

Thomas said he wants to focus on his team's season.

"The game plan is to not let it involve my team," he said. "I know where I am.

"I have an obligation to my team. Those are my brothers. I love the recruiting process and it's a blessing. But my obligation is to my team."

Thomas talked about what the opening win could mean for the Firebirds.

"This is the biggest momentum swing for us," he said. "We struggled in our scrimmage against Elder. But this helps us to start the season."

Lakota West coach Larry Cox has seen three of his players commit to Ohio State in recent years in Steve Rehring, Brandon Maupin and Josh Chichester, although Chichester ultimately did not sign with the Buckeyes.

"Number one, he's an excited young man," Cox said. "In my 10 years at Lakota West High School, I have never had a player with that kind of enthusiasm. He plays with such passion. It's a heat of the moment thing right now. I think he needs to sit down and make sure it's the right thing for him.

"If that is for him, I'm behind him 100 percent. I want what's best for Solomon Thomas. He is a tremendous kid and a tremendous football player. He's obviously a leader for us."

Cox said Thomas' forced fumble on the game's first play is emblematic of the way he approaches the game.

"I will never ever question whether Solomon Thomas is ready to play football," Cox said. "Never. That kid comes out ready to practice, let alone to play a game. That's why he's highly coveted, because he plays with that kind of intensity."

Lakota West drove for the game's first points as Dustin Huff converted a fourth down with a 32-yard touchdown pass to top junior wide receiver Bakari Bussey.

Moeller cut it to 7-6 after a pair of field goals. Lakota West appeared to ice it when Devin Favors scored on a 19-yard touchdown run with 7:00 left. But the Firebirds' PAT kick was blocked and Moeller was still in the game at 13-6.

Moeller rallied with an eight-play, 80-yard drive and scored on Tim Uecker's 1-yard touchdown run with 36 seconds left. But the PAT kick was wide left and the Firebirds just had to run out the clock to get the win.

"It was the type of game I expected, a defensive struggle," Cox said. "Both teams return a lot of guys on defense. I felt like if we could get three scores it would be in the basket. God love our defense because they kept coming back."

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