What did Mrs. Elaine Jackson, Mike's mother, think about the trip?
Elaine could not pin point one thing that stood out the most, but the Fed Ex academic center is already making an impact for the University of Mississippi.
"All of it was overwhelming, but what really stood out to me was the Fex Ex building. That is an academic center for their student athletes to help them with their studies, get tutored and those type of things. I know he will be on the right track to earn his degree, and they have a system set up where you can monitor your kid's day to day progress in the classroom. I can even check his enrollment for classes each day. I do not know if Mike is going to like that or not (laugh), but he knows I will. It is comforting to know that if Mike is having any problems, I will be on top of things. Not only will Ole Miss be on top of it, I will too."
While the academic programs obviously was the focus for Mike and his mother, the coaches at Ole Miss also made quite an impression.
"I love all of them. I just love their personalities and passion that they have for the game and their players. When we were in the locker room after the game, and it looked like a bunch of grown men getting emotional like little kids. There were tears in all of the coaches and players. I had never seen a group so emotional after a loss. They truly care about football, and I know Mike is a very emotional player too. He does not like losing, so it is just a perfect fit for him. What you also notice about their coaches by spending time around them is that they care about them on and off of the field. They have a passion to make sure their players graduate. They have a passion to make sure they are becoming young men. I just feel very comfortable leaving my baby boy with them. I know they are going to make sure he is doing the right things."
Did this visit reaffirm Mike and his mother's belief that Ole Miss is the best school for him?
"Yes it did. We are at peace with our decision. This is his final decision. We just can not wait for him to graduate and get up there in June."
Mike reported to us a couple weeks back that South Carolina was on the verge of offering him; was that offer extended?
"No sir, they wanted me to come in for an official visit, and I told them that I was sold on Ole Miss," added Mike Thomas. "The South Carolina coaches told me that they respect someone who is a man of their word, but that if I ever change my mind, they would be holding a spot for me."
This was Thomas' first Ole Miss game to attend; what were his impressions?
"I just love their fans and how they interact with the recruits and the players. I had fans coming up to me asking if I was the DL from Mobile, and I had no clue how they knew who I was. I talked to a couple of the players, and they told me that everybody will know who you are because they love Ole Miss football so much. It is truly a family oriented atmosphere around there."
Mike was hosted by Josh Tatum and a walk on at Ole Miss that Thomas was teammates with at St. Pauls.
"Josh Lancaster showed me around the campus and town. He told me about how it really is around there. Josh showed me around town. I really do not know why more people do not go to Ole Miss. I have been to Alabama, Auburn, and LSU and none of those towns or campuses can compete with Ole Miss and Oxford. It is like night and day better than those places."