Ian Thomas talks official visit

Ian Thomas took his first trip to the Music City during the weekend on an official visit to Vanderbilt. The 6-foot, 190-pound wide receiver recently finished his prep football career at Franklin High School in Baltimore County, Md.

"I had tons of fun," said Ian Thomas of the visit. "I didn't expect it to be that way because I had never been to Nashville before. The people in the city are great. Everyone was sociable and friendly. It's a live city."

Thomas made the trip with his mother from the Baltimore area. He had a chance to interact with potential future teammates while on campus.

"They were supposed to take me out and explore the city," Thomas said, "but I was really tired when we got in. My player-host was Udom Umoh.

"I talked with Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd. Josh Grady and I have been texting back and forth since I left. They told me both the good and bad of playing football at Vanderbilt. Some of the things the coaches don't tell you."

Some of Thomas's time was spent with Chris Beatty, the wide receivers coach, who coached nine years in his neighboring state of Virginia.

"He's a great guy," Thomas said of Beatty. "He's a different type of coach than I'm accustomed to. With him there's not a lot of yelling. He's a big technique guy. I felt his passion for the game. It left a good impression on me. His attitude is ‘let's get work done and do big things'."

Vanderbilt football also left a good impression on Thomas. The Commodores handled the visiting Kentucky Wildcats to their second conference win of the season.

"The turnaround this year is what really intrigues me," said Thomas on the program. "They've been in some close games. Coach Franklin believes if he brings in some more playmakers to go with the talent he has now, they'll be dangerous in the SEC. They have the right staff in place from the head coach to the athletic trainer to make that happen."

This was Thomas's first official visit. He says he's been hearing the most from Rutgers, Iowa, Virginia, Maryland, and Cincinnati.

"I'd like to try and take all of my official visits," said Thomas. "I haven't set my next one up yet. If there comes a point where I already know where I want to commit I'll go ahead and pull the trigger. I don't want to go past January on making my decision."

Thomas had a big senior season for the Franklin Indians. He had more than 1,000 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns. On defense, in a linebacker/safety hybrid role, he made 57 tackles, four interceptions, eight pass breakups, two fumble recoveries, one sack, and one forced fumble.

"This season I thought I played 10 times better than I did last year," Thomas said. "I put in a lot of work in the off-season with my new trainer in getting faster and more flexible. I felt like it enabled me to do a lot more things athletically.

"I played special teams, wide receiver, and some linebacker, safety, and cornerback on 'D'. I really feel good about what I was able to do this year. Unfortunately we lost in the first round to Aberdeen, so our season is over."

Thomas scored both touchdowns for Franklin in the Virginia 2010 3A state championship game, but the Indians fell short to Wilde Lake, 21-14. His next game is the Crab Bowl, Maryland's statewide high school football All-Star game, on December 17th at Bowie State University.

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