Jakarri Thomas flips to Vanderbilt

Many of the committed players in Vanderbilt's class of 2012 were on campus last weekend taking their official visits. Jakarri Thomas came into the visit as a commitment, but to Arkansas. At the end of the trip, things would change for the 6-foot-1, 193-pound linebacker from Tallahassee's Godby High School. Thomas talked in-depth about the switch.

"I was amazed right away with how the coaches came up and greeted me," said Jakarri Thomas. "They introduced themselves, knew who I was. It just felt comfortable right from the start."

Thomas made the trip to Nashville from Florida's capital city with his parents. They were both excited with the educational opportunities the university offers.

"My parents were very impressed with Vanderbilt," Thomas said. "Coach Franklin explained to us the statics with player graduation. He was very informative giving us the information and answering the questions we had about the educational aspects of the school."

First year player Kellen Williams acted as Thomas' player-host. Williams is also from the Sunshine State and plays linebacker. He also got to meet the guys coming in who did a little recruiting themselves.

"It's a program on the rise," Thomas said of Vanderbilt football. "With Coach Franklin there things are different. The players I met were all excited about going to school there. They kept on telling me that Vanderbilt is the place to be. I hung out with Torren McGaster, Brian Kimbrow and Paris Head a lot. We had a great time."

A three-year starter at Godby, Thomas was named First Team All-State in Florida 5A at Defensive Line. Vanderbilt, however, likes him at outside linebacker.

"I played a lot of defensive end this year," Thomas said. "I made around 60 tackles with seven tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, an interception, and a touchdown.

"When I was [at Vanderbilt] I met with Coach (Brent) Pry. He was very welcoming. He said he likes the way I play the game. We talked a lot about the future. I liked him. He's a real energetic guy."

Thomas gave his commitment to James Franklin before he left the campus. He had planned on taking one more visit this weekend to Arkansas, but saw all he needed to see in Nashville.

"I'm done," said Thomas of his recruitment. "It was a combination of the coaches, players, and education at Vanderbilt that made me want to come be a part of it.

"The campus is absolutely beautiful. The freshmen dorms they call ‘The Commons' are pretty nice. I liked Nashville a lot too. It's active with numerous things to do."

Thomas is doing numerous things before his June 2nd graduation from Godby. He's in track competing in the 100 and 200 meter dash and the long jump. As an honor student he mentors younger students at his high school. Thomas wore No. 40 for the Godby Cougars and served as a team captain as a senior.

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