UCLA, USC Still Battle for Thomas

The #3-ranked tight end in the country, Palmdale (Calif.) Highland's Christian Thomas, continues to get pursued by the best college football programs across the nation, but he's focusing on the two local Los Angeles schools...

Palmdale (CA) Highland HS tight end Christian Thomas is Scout's top-rated tight end in the state of California for the 2010 recruiting class, so it is no surprise that he has been hearing from college coaches from the top programs across the country.

"USC, UCLA, LSU, Oklahoma and Washington are the schools that are recruiting the hardest," Thomas said. "I like them all because they would use me in their offense and they are great places to go to."

While Thomas has interest in several schools, USC and UCLA remain the two programs that he is most comfortable with at this point in the recruiting process.

"The only two that stand out are the local ones because I been to their campuses," he said. "I know a little bit more about them than the others."

The 6-foot-3, 245-pound recruit spent some time this offseason in Los Angeles watching spring practices at USC and UCLA and enjoyed his time at each school.

"The USC practices are just like games, they go full out," Thomas said. "With as many people as they have on their depth chart they should play like that every practice just to get playing time.

"At UCLA, they have a nice, nice facility there, they have great coaches, a great staff and I like their offense."

Along with being comfortable with the coaches and players, Thomas said he is looking for early playing time and a school that has a strong academic tradition as well.

"A school that if I graduate from there I don't have to go to the NFL I could do something else. I would choose the NFL, but if not I could still have another job," he said. "I want to play somewhere where I can get the ball early. I don't want to redshirt or anything.

"If I feel comfortable at the school and comfortable in the offense, that's what school I am going to pick."

While early playing time is a factor, Thomas said he doesn't spend much time looking at depth charts because he feels he has the skills to compete against the best players in the nation.

"With my competitiveness, I believe that I can start anywhere I want because of my drive," he said. "I am real competitive, so my drive separates me from me other people."

The talented tight end says he likes that the cross-town rivals have both produced NFL tight ends in recent years in Fred Davis (USC) and Marcedes Lewis (UCLA).

"That's a big thing for me because if another guy from that school showed that he can be a first-round draft pick then that shows that I can do the same thing," Thomas said. "I am not making the impossible happen, it has been done before."

Thomas patterns his game after San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates and pulled in 32 catches for 690 yards and eight touchdowns during his impressive junior season at Highland.

Now that he is going to be a senior and a team leader, Thomas is looking to get a championship ring in his final year of high school football.

"I want a championship ring," he said. "It doesn't matter how I get it. If I have to play running back, receiver, quarterback, linebacker or safety, it doesn't matter, I want a ring."

While Thomas works towards getting that championship ring, USC and UCLA fans will have to wait to see where Scout's No.3 tight end will end up.

"I think I want to go all the way to Signing Day," Thomas said.


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