Player Spotlight: Jermaine Thomas

First Coast High School (Jacksonville, FL) is home to some of the top talent in the Sunshine State's class of 2008 this year, but none are more dynamic than running back prospect Jermaine Thomas. The explosive Thomas has garnered offers from some of the top football programs in America, including South Carolina. Where do the Gamecocks stand with this top RB prospect? Read inside to find out.

The 6‘0, 200 pound Thomas, who rushed for over 900 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior last season, has been offered by major programs like Florida State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Maryland, NC State, Purdue, and Minnesota. However, when it comes to favorites, Thomas says that a few teams currently stand out in the race for his services.

"Favorites, I've got a couple on there that I would consider to be stronger. That would be South Carolina, Florida State, and I'd probably say maybe Purdue or NC State," said Thomas.

While Purdue and NC State are new to his list of favorites, South Carolina and FSU have been fixtures atop his list for some time now, and the standout running back shared what he likes about the Gamecocks and Seminoles:

South Carolina - "What I like about South Carolina is I have two teammates (Jamire Williams and Arkee Smith) going there, and I like Coach Spurrier. Coach Spurrier told me that with the type of player I am he could take me and build their offense around me. He said that with my catching ability out of the backfield I could do some special things in the offense. I heard they've put a couple of guys in the NFL, and they like to get the ball to their running backs. They like to throw it too, but they're just an all around team when it comes to offense."

Florida State - "I was a die hard Florida State fan since I was little, both me and my dad. I grew up liking Florida State when they were doing their best. I like their offensive system. They've got a lot of new coaches on the offensive side of the ball. They've got a new offensive line coach, and for a running back, you have to have an offensive line for you to really do anything. They have a new running backs coach.. Coach Carter played for the 49ers in the NFL, and for him to coach a lot of young college boys after already experiencing the NFL, that'd be an honor to be one of his players."

Thomas, who is being recruited by Coach Steve Spurrier Jr. for the Gamecocks, said that he does not yet have a timeframe for a decision, but he does hope to make a few visits before making a commitment.

Coach Fred Culver, who coaches Thomas at First Coast High School, believes that his star running back is special and is capable of changing a game anytime he touches the ball.

"The thing about Jermaine is he's just so fast. His speed is unbelievable. He has exceptional speed, and I've clocked him in the 4.3's (in the forty yard dash.) People don't believe it, so I always say consistent 4.4's. When you see him on the field, he plays at a very fast speed like he's a 4.1 or 4.2 kid," said Culver. "Jermaine is special. He can catch the ball. He's got good ball skills, and when the ball's in his hands, he's unbelievable. He's a difference maker. He's another-gear guy."

While many top athletes these days let their ability go to their head, Culver said that Thomas is equally as special off the field as he is on it.

"Jermaine is a great kid. He's what every father would like to have as a son. He's got a great work ethic. Ever since he's been here, he's been positive and a joy to coach."

Stay tuned to throughout the week as we will feature more of First Coast's class of 2008 talent.

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