Devon Thomas: His Coach's Take

Devon Thomas of Broken Arrow (Okla.) High School was the first player to commit in the 2014 recruiting class, and enrolled at mid-term so he could participate in spring practice. With National Signing Day around the corner (Feb. 5), we visited with Steve Spavital, the head coach at Broken Arrow before resigning after the 2013 season, about Thomas and his future with the Cowboys.

What are Devon's strengths as a football player?
Spavital: His power. He has tremendous power in his running. I kind of compare him to Jeremy Smith. I coached Jeremy when I was at Union (High School in Tulsa), and there are a lot of similarities. You've got a lot of speed, but you've got a lot of power (in both of them). They are going to develop him into a better runner as well.

What do you think will be the biggest transition for him moving from the high school game to the Big 12 Conference?
Spavital: Just the game itself. It's going to be a lot more physical for him. It's going to be a lot more demanding. For him, he's got to show a consistency and he's going to have to be reliable. I've got to rely on you to make that block to help the quarterback or whatever. That being accountable is going to be a factor because you're talking about a guy who broke all the school rushing records here in Broken Arrow. Now all of a sudden they can go into an atmosphere where they can really think they're better than they really are. He's never really had to be real accountable. He was a good kid. Don't get me wrong. But now everyone is just as good as he is, and now can we count on you?

Do you think he has a chance to make an instant impact or will there be an adjustment period for him?
Spavital: He's going in there at mid-term because he wants to have an impact, and that's the best way to do it if you can. He's going in there to work and make an impact. Now with a freshman it's really difficult, especially when you're (playing at) Tailback U. There are going to be tailbacks that are just as good or better than him. It took Jeremy (Smith) a while to play but when he did, he became very good. He's there to do it but I just don't really see a lot of freshmen making a big impact. (Current Cowboys offensive lineman) Zac Veatch was one of mine (here at Broken Arrow), and boy he was impressive as a high school player but once he gets there everybody is as good as me.

What do you think he is capable of accomplishing over the course of his college career at OSU?
Spavital: He has the ability to be just as good or better (than Jeremy Smith). He's very intelligent and knows what he needs to do. I see him making a really good impact there, and I see him being a really good player just like Jeremy.

What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Spavital: You're going to miss a lot. You're losing the best back in Broken Arrow history. Obviously the impact he had and what he was able to do. This is a guy that was voted as captain, and anything that we had players vote on, he was selected. The kids and players respected him and liked him, and I think OSU is going to get the same thing. Again, (like Gyasi Akem) I've seen him grow him. He's a highly dedicated and motivated young man. The way he handled himself is really going to be missed here.

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