2008 OL visits A&M, meets Sherman

2008 offensive lineman Brian Thomas spent time with several other commits and had a chance to meet with new head coach Mike Sherman. What did he think of the new coach? What are the thoughts of other 2008 commits? Aggie Websider visits with Thomas about the trip.

When Pearland offensive lineman Brian Thomas committed to Texas A&M in the spring of 2007, it appeared that the recruiting process was behind him and he could focus on his senior season. While his senior season was a good one that included a switch from tackle to center, his recruitment has taken a few twists and turns with Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione resigning in November and former NFL head coach Mike Sherman taking over in College Station.

"When Coach Franchione resigned, I wondered what would happen," Thomas said. "Would my scholarship still be there? Would I fit into the new staff's system."

But Thomas' concerns were put to rest quickly when Sherman called him to introduce himself and assure the 6-foot-4, 270-pound lineman that he was a valued member of the 2008 recruiting class.

"Coach Sherman seemed like a real good guy, very open and honest," Thomas said. "He said he was an OL coach in college and was going to be very hands-on. He wanted me to work hard in the offseason and come ready to compete. They have some spots to fill next fall."

The Aggies' new head coach also invited Thomas and his family to College Station this past Saturday to observe an Alamo Bowl practice and to a lunch reception to meet him in person and discuss his background and his expectations for the program.

"I went up there on Saturday with my parents. We got to watch the end of practice and then we had lunch with Coach Sherman and Coach Cassidy with some of the other recruits there," Thomas said. "He was real cool. It's easy to hold a conversation with him."

So what did the Pearland native and the new coach talk about?

"He told me to be prepared to work hard, that they might be needing me early," Thomas said. "He said he was bringing in a mix of NFL coaches and college coaches and that his staff can develop me for the next level if I'm dedicated and work at it."

Thomas had a chance to speak with several of the senior and junior commits at the reception, and they all agree that the Texas A&M football program is in good hands.

"We're all happy about Coach Sherman and the new situation here," Thomas said. "I was talking to Wolridge, Dorman, Michael (Brown) and Clint (Naron), and there's no doubt that Coach Sherman will put in a successful offensive and defensive scheme and we'll win a lot of games here. It's pretty exciting."

Thomas and his Pearland teammates advanced to the Texas 5A playoffs before losing a close 24-20 nailbiter to perennial powerhouse Northshore. It was a good season for Pearland, but it was even more valuable for Thomas who was asked to make the switch to center in 2007.

"At first I wasn't sure about it. I had always played tackle," Thomas said. "But they needed me there. I called all the assignments and it forced me to take a leadership role and I liked it. Playing center also forced me to get stronger and it improved my drive blocking. It made me a better player, that's for sure."

Thomas is expected to graduate in May, and plans to move up to College Station during the second summer session.

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