Originally a 2009 recruiting class member for Pittsburgh, Todd Thomas was not academically eligible and had to enroll at Milford Academy prep school in New Berlin, N.Y. that fall. Issues with the NCAA Clearinghouse prevented him from enrolling at Pitt this past January, but all that is behind him now.
Thomas visited Pitt's practice facility Thursday and signed up for summer classes beginning May 9. He can work out with the Panthers after that and be eligible to play this fall.
"When I heard the word that I was cleared, it was like the world rolled off my shoulders,'' Thomas said before Pitt's spring practice session Thursday. "It was an unbelievable for me, because it just didn't seem like things had been going right for me for a while.
"You know, from the way things ended for me in high school to me coming to Pitt, it just seemed like everything was going down the drain. I really didn't know what was going to happen, but I stuck with it. I kept working hard and praying on it, and I'm here now.''
The nearly 6-foot-3, 210-pound Thomas was a two-sport all-state performer at Beaver Falls, Pa. High School in Beaver County and was considered to be a strong candidate to play immediately at Pitt. If that were true, Thomas believed he's more ready than ever to contribute right away for the Panthers.
"Prep school made me a lot stronger in, you know, the whole nine yards,'' Thomas said. "Academically, physically, I really think I became a man while I was there. I'm more ready now. I don't think I was academically ready when I came out of high school, but I'm ready now.
"You've really got to be mentally strong to get through prep school. It's not as easy as a lot of people think it is. It's a lot of hard work, but I got through it. I worked on my study habits, and they improved a lot. I'm ready for that aspect of college, and I'm even more physically ready as well.''
Thomas put up some spectacular stats from his safety spot at Milford with 66 total tackles, including 56 solo, 12 pass breakups, a forced fumble and four interceptions. He also returned a pick for a touchdown. Still, the Panthers decided that they want Thomas to play his original recruited position.
"They want me to be a receiver, even though I only played safety at prep school,'' Thomas said. "So, I'm fine with that. I'll play wherever they want me to play, but I'm looking forward to playing receiver.''
And after such a lengthy journey with many twists and turns, everyone associated with Pitt is just glad to get Thomas in the fold in some capacity.
Todd Thomas Is Ready To Go
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