Louisville standout back on his game

The do-it-all Louisville athlete entered his senior season with high expectations.




And why not?

All he did is lead the Wildcats to the Class 3A State championship. He was one of three juniors named to the 1st Team All-State team for all Classifications. WR Pat Patterson and S David Conner were the other two.

This summer the 6' 0", 185 pound running back/defensive back was named to the prestigious Dandy Dozen team, which features the state's top 12 players.

In August, Louisville was facing the state's top program (South Panola) at their jamboree. It was the most anticipated event for Louisville's program in quite some time. But Dennis had an unfortunate occurrence happen during the game.

"I banged my knee pretty good," added Dennis Thames. "I thought it was just a deep thigh bruise. The doctor cleared me to play so I played against Starkville in our opener, but then I hurt it again. This time I had a partial tear in MCL. I had to sit out the next five games until we played Noxubee County."

The Louisville/Noxubee County game was suppose to be a showdown between the defending 3A champs and the 4A Finalists. But there was one problem, the Wildcat's star QB, Clayton Moore, had missed the last 3 11/2 games with a back injury, and Dennis had been out since the season opener.

"We came back against Noxubee because it was such a big game. Me and Clayton wanted to go against our biggest rival. The doctor cleared me to play so I went out there, but I was not feeling myself. Clayton was not either. I played mostly defense in that game. They used me as a coy on offense. But we were awful that game. We just could not do anything on offense."

The following week Dennis started regaining his old form.

"Against Aberdeen. It was sweet. The Noxubee County game I went out there to see how my knee felt. I was only about 75% against Noxubee. But I came out there against Aberdeen, and I could do what ever I wanted to do. I had 4 TD's (3 receiving and 1 rushing) and over a 100 yards rushing and receiving. I would say my knee is about 85% now, but I can do what ever I need to do. I am still able to do it all, just my cutting and speed is still not there yet."

When does Thames expect to be back 100%?

The (MCL) tear is healed, but I have a big bruise on the outside of my knee. That is giving me some problems. This is the first time I have ever been hurt, so it has made it real tough on me. I really do not know when it is going to be back 100% because I have never gone through this before, but it feels great to be back. I missed a lot of time. I am just glad to get that jersey back on and represent my school and city."

Last Friday, Dennis continued down the right path

"I had 3 TD's and 6 tackles against Amory. I had a 60 something yard rushing TD, and I caught a screen for a TD. I had 1 rushing TD and 2 receiving TD's."

Due to rehabbing his knee and making up some academic work, Dennis has not been busy this Fall with recruiting.

"A lot of things have happened in my life. I am trying to get my school work together. The weekends is the only free time I have, so I have not been going to any (college) games or anything. I went and checked out MSU the other week (against Vandy) because I was visiting my Uncle and we went over there to the game. But really, that is it. But I have made up some ground with my courses, so I will have some free time on my hands coming up. I am going to a couple of games. I plan on going to a game of Alabama's, and I am going up to Ole Miss to see them play MSU. I always go to that game. It is a big game. I am going up to Michigan in a couple weeks. I think they are playing Ohio State that day. I am not sure. Me and uncle (Marcus Thames who plays for the Detroit Tigers) are headed up there for the weekend. I want to check out Auburn too. I have a lot of places to go. It will be like I am going on tour (laugh). I am behind with my visits, but I had to get my books straight first or none of it would have mattered anyway."

Has Dennis had a chance to watch any of his schools of interest play on TV?

"Yea, I caught a couple of games. I caught the Ole Miss/Florida and Ole Miss/Alabama games. I saw Michigan/Michigan State play. But that is about it. I have been hitting my books on the weekends for the most part."

Any observations from the Ole Miss games?

"They made a lot of big plays. They are in the SEC and Ole Miss is a good school. They are a good football team. I know some things they do and some things they can't do or choose not to do. They are on the rise."

Who is keeping in weekly contact with Dennis?

"It is the same schools, really, you have Alabama, Ole Miss, Michigan, and USM. Everybody still calls."

Does Dennis feel any closer to a decision than he did before his senior season started?

"I am not even thinking about all of that stuff, to be honest. I have no idea what I am going to do. I am not leaning to any school. I am going to set up my visits after my season, take those visits, and decide from there."


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