Thomas Leads Stellar Copperas Cove Class

Two standout players will lead their teams in a premier matchup Friday. We have not finished compiling our list of 2012 Texas prospects, the most talented juniors in one of the most talent packed football states. We can tell you that when the list is completed, Copperas Cove athlete Orlando Thomas will be included.

Thomas is making headlines this season after earning first team all-district honors as a wide receiver last season. Friday night, Thomas leads the 3-0 Bulldawgs against Belton and senior quarterback David Ash, who is already pledged to the Texas Longhorns. It should be quite a show in the Super Centex region of the state.

The 6-3, 190-pound Ash is more of a thrower that can run, while the younger Thomas is a runner that can beat just about anybody.

We had heard about Thomas's sizzling start ot the 2010 season and Copperas Cove assistant coach Tracy Welch, brother of head coach Jack Welch, filled us in on details on what we had heard.

Copperas Cove has always been a stout program with talented players. Bulldawg seniors Brandon Durant (6-0, 180, LB) and Trevor Valdez (6-2, 260, DT) are committed to UTEP and Baylor, respectively. There are others in that class, but it may be the junior class that will draw more attention.

Thomas is a 5-11, 175-pound speedster that runs 4.4 and, according to coach Welch, can also max out on the bench press at 260 pounds and can handle 400 pounds on the squat.

A baseball outfielder that is good enough to draw attention from the pros. Thomas went to a baseball combine as a freshman and posted the best time in his age group nationally in the 60-yard dash and in running the bases. He also runs track at Copperas Cove, as do all the football players.

Last season he caught 19 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 24 rushing yards on three carries, averaged 27 yards on nine kickoff returns, and had a 93-yard touchdown runback.

This season Thomas is playing quarterback and retunrs punts and kickoffs. He opened the season by piloting the Bulldawgs to a win over powerhouse Southlake Carroll as he rushed 21 times for 101 yards, including a nine-yard touchdown run.

In a 49-6 win over Nuevo Leon of Mexico, he rushed for 191 yards on eight carries including scoring runs of 77 and 95 yards. Against neighboring rival Waco High, another stout team in the Super Centex region, he just missed 100 rushing yards with 97 yards and had touchdown runs of 3 and 55 yards. He also passed for 71 yards in the Waco win.

Coach Welch said Thomas went to Texas camp and the Longhorns are interested as defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and assistant and former Longhorn quarterback Major Applewhite recently made it to Copperas Cove.

He also said that Oklahoma State asstant and ace recruiter Doug Meacham has shown strong interest in Thomas, as has TCU and head coach Gary Patterson. Kansas State is also throwing its hat in the ring.

Thomas is one of four premier junior prospects on the Bulldawgs roster.

Fullback Brandon Hamilton played linebacker last season, but is lighting up teams in the run game this fall. The 5-11, 210-pound Hamilton has 4.5 speed. He rushed for 87 yards on six carries against Southlake Carroll. In the win over Waco he went crazy with 197 yards and three touchdowns, including a 99-yard spectacular scoring run.

Wide receiver Johnny Simmans was the District Newcomer of the Year as a sophomore last season, joining Thomas on the all-district team. Simmans had 21 receptions for 410 yards and four touchdowns. This season he is getting a lot done on the ground and is Thomas' favorite receiver. Simmans is 5-10, 175 pounds and has 4.5 speed.

You can add a big blocker to the group with offensive line prospect David Moore. The 6-4, 255-pound Moore is only going to get bigger and he moves well. In the Copperas Cove offense you have to move well just to keep up.

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