PA RB Visits PSU

PA running back Travis Thomas, who has at least a dozen offers, took an unofficial visit to Penn State this past Sunday. How was the visit?

Name: Travis Thomas
Position: RB
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 200 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.4
School: Washington High, Washington, PA

Travis is a tremendous athlete who played running back, strong safety and outside linebacker for Washington High last season.  He is primarily being recruited to play running back in college, his preferred position.

"Pittsburgh and Maryland are recruiting me for running back, but they said that if I come into the program and I feel I have a better shot at playing on the defensive side at strong safety or outside backer then I could do that, but I'm mainly being recruited as a running back," Travis explained.

Travis has offers from "Boston College, Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Iowa, Northwestern, Syracuse, Duke, Maryland, Cincinnati and Vanderbilt.

"I have no true standout, I'm still kind of open right now.  Hopefully, I'll have it narrowed down to about 5 towards mid-season so I'll know where to take my official visits."

Penn State is recruiting Travis to play running back and offered Thomas a scholarship several months ago.  Travis decided to take an unofficial visit to State College this past Sunday.  It was his first trip to Penn State.

"I went up with my coach, another coach on our staff and my uncle went up with me.

"Originally, I was supposed to go up on Thursday, but the players wouldn't have been up there and they wanted me to compare myself to them, to see what a walk-through was like, what type of offense they ran and stuff like that.  A walk-through is [when they practice with] helmets, shorts and cleats.

"It was better than I expected.  There's a lot of talk, especially in Washington, people saying, 'It's not very good up there, they've had racist problems up there', but I kind of like it up there.  The facilities are real good, I was comfortable with the players, and the coaching staff was real nice.  It was better than I thought.

"I toured the whole campus.  I couldn't go off campus to see the fraternity houses or anything like that because your not allowed to on an unofficial visit, but I've seen all the new buildings coming up.  I'm interested in the business and engineering fields so they showed me all of those buildings and where I would be studying if I chose to major in one of those areas.

"I met with the athletic academic advisor, Don Farrell.  He's a cousin to my grandfather so that would work out pretty well if I went there.

"I talked to the running back coach, Coach Fran and I talked to Coach Paterno for a while.  I also talked to Larry Johnson and a guy I knew from Woodland Hills, Borgoyn, he's a freshman up there now, and I talked to the starting fullback (Sean McHugh).  I talked to those guys for a while."

What were his thoughts after watching the walk-through?

"It was pretty good, I think I could probably fit into that offense pretty well.  They do a lot of similar things to what we do where the back comes out of the backfield to make catches.  A lot of the schemes are similar to what we run, so it wouldn't be too hard to fit in there I don't think.

"The coaches gave me the situation.  Larry Johnson is leaving after this year.  They have 2 sophomores, Gasparato and Gilmore, they have a freshman in from Michigan and in my class, there's this kid from Georgia (Jason Evans), who committed already and they're looking at bringing in myself.  So, after Johnson leaves, you'll have maybe 5 running backs."

Travis believes Penn State is looking to sign 2 running backs in this class.  Is he interested in becoming one of those 2?

"Now that I've seen the facilities and the whole campus for myself, there's more of an interest there."

He is in no hurry to make a decision.

"I'm taking my official visits and taking my time.  It will be a lot easier that way."

Has visited Penn State, Pitt and West Virginia.

What is he looking for in a prospective college?

"Of course, a good chance to play," he began.  "Also, am I comfortable with the coaching staff and the players, is the school what I'm looking for in terms of size or how far apart things are spread up there, how convenient are the locations to certain places?  Location in terms of how far from home isn't really too much of a factor, good academics, those are all the basics."

Although he stated that a school's location relative to home is not much of a factor, he did later acknowledge that "it would be a good thing if I stayed close to home."

According to Travis, Kenny Carter is recruiting him for Penn State.

At this time, Travis does not have any other visits scheduled, although he may return to Penn State for a game this season.

"I get 3 [tickets] for every home game, so I might take advantage of that.  They want to get me up for the Nebraska game."

April 18 LionNews article on Travis Thomas

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