It’s not 100 percent fair to say Tulsa (Okla.) Memorial’s Isaiah Thomas should be thanking Tulsa McLain’s Joshua Jacobs right now, but there’s a kernel of truth in that.
Jacobs has become the poster boy in terms of overlooked talent in the state when he appeared virtually out of nowhere to sign with Alabama.
The goal from that point on has been to make sure there is never another Jacobs in the state, especially when it comes to the in-state schools.
Oklahoma learned its lesson and has already offered Thomas, making it official in person two weeks ago when Thomas visited the campus.
“It does make it mean something more for me,” said Thomas about the offer being made face-to-face. “It was my first time there, and it was a great atmosphere. My favorite part was getting to know the coaches. It feels like a family there.”
Thomas two weeks ago had zero offers and has now placed himself in the top five for the entire state. There’s no bitterness with Thomas, though. He didn’t appear out of nowhere, it just took a bit longer for him to get noticed.
Thomas admits, too, his junior season was a lot different from his sophomore season. He learned a lot in terms of maturing on and off the field.
“The biggest difference for me was how I played,” Thomas said. “Back when I was a sophomore, I would take plays off. I don’t do that anymore. I go 100 percent every play.”
Thomas is listed at 6-foot-5 and around 230 pounds so the question is going to be about where he’ll play at the next level. Put on weight to become a defensive end or become a pass-rushing specialist as an outside linebacker.
The Sooners can see both sides. Calvin Thibodeaux hadn’t been hired yet when Thomas visited Norman so it was Mike Stoops handling duties.
“He took me to the side and said ‘you know you have an offer from us, right?’” Thomas said. “It was definitely a special moment.”
It has been a whirlwind with schools like Tennessee, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, among others, joining the race. For Thomas, though, he’s in no rush. The offers are nice, but he’s not ready to make a choice just yet.
Being an in-state kid, one naturally assumes Thomas would gravitate toward OU or Oklahoma State, but Thomas said he grew up a fan of college football and not exactly one of the Bedlam rivals.
As the offer count continues to grow, so, too, is Thomas’ mindset of always getting better.
“My technique is something I’m really working on,” Thomas said. “I know I have a lot of versatility to my game, and I’m just trying to become the most complete player I can.”
Thomas said putting on weight for him is not exactly an easy thing to do, but he won’t rule anything out going forward.
He said he doesn’t have any visits locked down just yet but did add a return to trip to OU during the spring seems pretty probable.
For now, his focus will be on helping Memorial make a run for a state basketball championship. Then recruiting will become a priority.