After talking with his family and several people in the oil industry, he felt his best bet was with the Longhorns.
So Thomas decided to announce his commitment to Charlie Strong’s program on Wednesday during a press conference at his high school with many of the town’s estimated 5,000 in attendance.
“It’s one of the most exciting moments of my life I’d have so far,” said Thomas, a reserved country boy proud of his Louisiana roots. “So many people from the town came out and supported me. It’s an odd feeling to have it over with but I’m excited. It’s a pretty great day for me.”
In addition to Texas and OU, Thomas had offers from Auburn, Arkansas, California, Kansas State, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State, TCU, and Vanderbilt.
But this was really a battle between the Longhorns and Sooners, and a close one at that.
“About a week ago I really decided that I wanted a petroleum engineering degree for sure, and that was going to be how I made my decision,” he said. “So I had it down to Texas and Oklahoma. I really thought about it but Texas has a lot better petroleum engineering degree. I’ve been talking to a lot of big guys in the oil company and they all said to go to Texas so that’s what I’m doing.”
That was, according to Thomas, the only difference in the two programs.
“That was pretty much it,” he said. “It was a really tough decision between the two because they are both great in football and have great tradition. So that was what really pushed me to my decision.”
Thomas said his interest in petroleum engineering comes from his family, which largely works in the oil industry.
“It is just something that my whole family does,” he said. “I’ve talked to a lot of guys that work offshore and that if you want to get into that kind of stuff then Texas is the place to be.”
Of course, it didn’t hurt Texas’ chances that it had offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Wickline working hard to get Thomas on board. Thomas didn’t know much about Wickline prior to looking up who Texas’ OL coach was back in February when he reached out to the Longhorns on Facebook.
“I really didn’t know Coach Wickline before that,” he said. “I was trying to reach out to Texas one day so I messaged him on Facebook and sent him my highlights and we started a relationship after that. I’ve watched videos of him at practice on YouTube and visited him once. He seems like the type of coach that I’d like to play for. He’ll push you but also be there for you.”
Thomas said Wickline and one of Oklahoma’s coaches watched him practice on the same day and both offered after practice.
He is the 11th member of Texas’ 2015 class and the fourth lineman along with Toby Weathersby, Ronnie Major, and Patrick Vahe. Though he’s 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, he’s agile enough to play inside if that’s what Wickline needs him to do.
“For my school we are strictly a running team. We almost run a Wing-T,” he said. I’m a physical offensive lineman, a road-grader type. I talked to Coach Wickline about it and he thought I would tackle but if we got in a pinch I could play guard.”