The four-star running back prospect from Fort Washington (Md.) Friendly spent Saturday not only taking in Ohio State's 58-7 destruction of Northwestern, but he also got the full treatment from the Buckeyes' second recruiting staff.
On his second official visit, the 5-10, 178-pound Thomas said he was touched by the number of verbal commitments in attendance for one main reason: to convince him to become the next.
"That meant a lot," he told BuckeyeSports.com. "That meant a whole lot. Most of those guys told me the same thing. They didn't have to come to the Northwestern game. It wasn't any of their official visits or anything. Most of those guys came up there to hang out with me and try to get me. It made me feel real good. People wanted me and they showed me how much they wanted me there."
Of the 11 verbal commitments to OSU for its class of 2008, eight were in attendance for the game. Thomas said he keeps in touch with many of them – Michael Brewster and DeVier Posey in particular – through text messages and phone calls, but he still enjoyed the time spent with the players.
Not all the talk was of getting Thomas to commit, although he admitted there was plenty of that.
"They were doing some of their recruiting stuff, joking around, laughing, but most of the time we were just chilling and talking about other things," he said. "Anything that came to mind we'd just talk about."
Saturday evening, all the members of the class of 2008 and their families had dinner with OSU head coach Jim Tressel and wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell – a meal that was planned by Brewster's father, Thomas said.
The friendships he has built up at OSU has helped to illustrate the difference between the Buckeyes and Maryland, as his official visits have shown.
"Both visits were great," he said. "The only thing different from Ohio State was the atmosphere of the game. With 105,000 people yelling, it was crazy. Me being able to chill with Brewster and Posey and Jake and those guys, it was really great because at Maryland there was no 2008 committees there for me to hang out with and get to know. That was different. I had a whole lot of fun with those guys."
While all the relationships he has built and the visit itself have left a positive impression upon Thomas, there is still one hurdle for the Buckeyes to overcome. Thomas has three top schools – OSU, Illinois and Maryland – and perhaps the biggest thing separating the three is the fact that the Buckeyes are the only school wanting him to play wide receiver.
Thomas has played at running back for the entirety of his career until this season.
"I talked to Coach Hazell for a little bit about that situation," he said. "He said that from when he worked out with me in the summer, I'm a quick learner and that I can pick up on things very quick and some of the things I'm already able to do. It won't take as much for me to convert from a running back to a receiver. He said maybe if he hadn't seen me before that he wouldn't understand, but he saw what I can do at the one camp.
"They say situation-wise, where they might put me back there sometimes. Brewster and some of them were telling me that they think they could put me back there sometimes and run through the seams with me in the backfield or motion me in the backfield and give defenses different looks."
The possibility of being optioned to the backfield could help OSU's chances along those lines, he said.
This season at Friendly, Thomas has not started a game at tailback. Instead, he has lined up at wide receiver as his high school coaching staff tries to help him figure out which position he prefers.
"They're trying to play me a lot at receiver in practice and in the games," he said. "They're not telling me what decision to make, but they're helping me make my decision by putting me both as a receiver and in the backfield and seeing what I like to do best."
Thomas has one official visit remaining. He will visit Illinois this weekend and make a final decision sometime in October, he said.