Michigan DB Commits to UCLA

Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary Prep safety Earnest Thomas did his homework and his research and Wednesday decided to choose the Bruins over several suitors, including a host from the Midwest...

Orchard Park (Mich.) St. Mary Prep safety Earnest Thomas didn't realize he'd be interrupting the vacation of the UCLA coaches when he called with some news on Wednesday.

But Thomas said the coaches were more the happy to be bothered, when he gave them his verbal commitment.

"I committed to UCLA today," said Thomas. "I talked to Coach (Chuck) Bullough, he was in Mexico on vacation in Cabo and I told him I wanted to commit. We had a really nice conversation and I always love talking to him. He said he was o.k. with me bothering him on his vacation for that news, but I let him go so he could enjoy his vacation. Tomorrow, I'm going to call Coach (Rick) Neuheisel and let him know. A lot of the coaches are on vacation so I'm not trying to bother them too much, but they're excited and I am excited."

In fact, the coaching staff was a big contributor to his decision.

"I can't express how comfortable I felt with the coaches," said Thomas. "Anything I ever wanted to talk to them about, they were there to answer, and I always heard some good things about them. And they are exactly like that."

At 6-1, 210, Thomas said that the UCLA coaches have a couple positions in mind for him.

"They like me as a strong safety, but also by talking to Coach Bullough, they feel like i definitely could probably get to about 225 by my freshman year, and there is always a chance I could end up being a WILL, which didn't bother me at all. I play the same way now, I've played all over the field for my team and I feel like a football player."

Thomas had 25 offers to choose from but said in the end, it came down to five schools.

"I chose UCLA over Penn State, West Virginia, Michigan and Illinois," said Thomas. "I had 25 offers but those were the five I was really considering. When it came down to it, I had a good chance to evaluate a lot of these schools who offered me. It came down to my comfort level and I felt real comfortable with the coaches, feel real comfortable with the coaches."

Thomas hasn't been out to UCLA yet to visit, but said he's certain he'll take an official during the season.

"I'll be going out for an official visit during the season, I know 110 percent, but I'd like to try and take an unofficial before the summer," said Thomas. "People I know who've been there said there is nothing negative about the school. They told me that with me and my personality, I'd feel most comfortable there."

The location of UCLA played a big role in Thomas' choice.

"Location definitely played a factor, because I have family there and I'm real close to them," said Thomas. "Everyone I talked to told me real good things about the school. It looks good for me with academics and everyone thought it was a good decision."

Thomas said he didn't do a lot of camps this spring and summer, instead, choosing to work with his team.

"I'm more old fashioned, I didn't like how our season ended," said Thomas. "My sophomore year we made it to the championship game, and lost in five overtimes, and it was the longest game in Michigan state championship history. Then my junior year, by not getting there, and really not getting close and living up to expectations, that definitely has been sticking with my stomach so I wanted to work harder for myself and get better with my team and do everything within my abilities to get back there, so I focused on our team."

Thomas said he's thrilled to be finished with the process.

"I'm happy to get it over with but at the same time, it never got stressful," said Thomas. "When I came down to my decision, I prayed on it, and just knew that everything that I evaluated was the real deal and what I wanted to do. It is a real blessing to me to even get considered and I had some great options. Now I can relax, knowing where I'm going to play football."

As a junior, Thomas made 85 tackles, had ten sacks and one interception.

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