22 in 22: Jordan Thomas

The 15th piece in ScarletReport.com's "22 in 22" series looks at incoming freshman Jordan Thomas of Union-Endicott (N.Y.) High. The speedy Thomas, who has the fastest hand-timed, non-wind aided 100 meter time in the country this season, is projected as a safety, but will enter Rutgers playing receiver. What does Thomas think about it? And what must he overcome to get on the field this season?

Jordan Thomas heard the rumblings from coaches, both at high school and college, about his ability to be a hard-hitting, big-bodied safety.

Yet, he is 6-foot-1, 200 pounds of pure speed. His 10.3 seconds in the 100 meters is the nation's best hand-timed, non-winded time this season.

So, imagine Thomas lined up at receiver, getting off a jam and getting behind the secondary?

Rutgers has, which is why the Union-Endicott (N.Y.) High star will begin his Rutgers career as a receiver.

"They're talking to me about wide receiver, slot,'' Thomas said. "I'm not sure, honestly. I just plan on going there and working hard and trying to get a spot on offense or defense. It really doesn't matter. I just want to get on the field.''

Given Rutgers' need for a down-field threat in the passing game, it makes sense to play Thomas on offense. But whether he gets into the mix as a freshman will depend on how quickly he adjusts to a new position.

Thomas finished his career with school records of 3,308 rushing yards and 318 points. He ran for 1,388 yards as a senior, but evaluators see his value in the secondary. He was ranked as Scout.com's No. 36 safety nationally in the 2010 class.

However, there is a reason Rutgers will start him on offense.

"What I hear from people is speed kills,'' Thomas said. "That's what they say. You can't teach something like that, so I guess it helps.''

But before heading to New Jersey, Thomas has a few things to finish. He graduates June 27, the day before he enrolls at Rutgers.

This weekend, though, he will be across the bridge from his Endicott home to run in the state track and field championships at Vestal (N.J.) High, and his plan is to bring home a state title.

"I put a lot of work in the winter and a lot in the spring, and it's paying off,'' Thomas said. "This is the best I ever have (run). It's a lot of work. My coach sits me down and we really go over technique. Over and over again until I'm sick of it, and then we do it some more.''

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