Big NJ DT Receiving National Attention

While last year's NJ class had solid depth this year's class will have depth and star power at a number of positions. It is precisely this star power that has made the Garden State one of the more coveted recruiting areas for a number of national schools. One of the positions that is filled to the brim with 2007 talent is the DT spot. One of the names fans should keep in mind as recruiting begins to heat up in the coming months is a local standout by the name of Wayne Thomas.

Wayne Thomas is a giant of a man. At 6-foot-6 and 285-pounds, Thomas is not only big, but he's athletic as well - an attractive combination for an athlete looking to make his home at the defensive tackle position for the next few years. By way of Hamilton High School North (Nottingham, NJ), Thomas has received an abundance of early, national attention, and has garnered his first few scholarship offers as well.

Thomas has received offers from his state school, Rutgers, and Syracuse. He also expects an offer to be coming in shortly from Michigan State, who has been pursuing him with heavy interest.

But it doesn't end there for Thomas. Others, including Ohio State, Virginia, Florida, Miami, Tennessee and Temple have all expressed interest in Thomas.

Thomas, who has played on the outside and inside on the defensive side of the ball is also an offensive threat at Tight End. However, despite his outstanding size, which would grant him a significant advantage catching balls as a TE, Thomas states that he would prefer to remain at DL at the next level.

"I've played on the outside and on the inside and I played offensive tight end, but I would prefer defensive tackle [at the next level]," stated Thomas.

And why not? At 6-foot-6 and 285-pounds, while running a 4.9 second 40-yard dash, Thomas could become an imposing threat defensively in college. His Junior season numbers testify to his dominance at the high school level.

As a Junior, Thomas racked up 9.5 sacks, estimated over 150 tackles, with 10 TFL, to go along with 1 INT and 1 blocked punt. Coming off a stellar Junior season campaign, Thomas is doing everything he can to elevate his game another notch.

"My day starts at 6:00 AM until 7:30 AM with warm-ups and a 1/2 mile run. Then I'll do some stretching and some core exercises. My coach has a specific routine set up for the week. On some days we'll focus more on upper body and on some days on lower body. We do a lot of stretching and we lift a lot," stated Thomas.

But it doesn't end there. Thomas also competes in a number of track and field events, including the shot put, discus, 100X, and high jump. And though he didn't participate on his basketball team this past winter, he did the previous year, notching a double-double every game.

In terms of recruiting, though still early in the recruiting process, Thomas likes what he has seen from his home-state school.

"I like Rutgers. I like the way they treat you there, the way their coaches treat you like family."

However, despite stating that he does see Rutgers as one of his favorites, Thomas indicates that he plans on exploring all his options before making a decision.


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