Trip Report: Terence Thomas

SEATTLE - Terence Thomas may be from Caldwell, Idaho, but he might as well start calling Seattle his second home. Thomas has racked up a ton of frequent flyer miles in the year since he started looking closely at attending the University of Washington, and this past weekend saw the 6-foot-8, 305-pound offensive lineman become the second most-famous Caldwell native to commit to the Huskies.

And the first? Cody Pickett, of course.

"They took care of us, that's for sure," Thomas told Sunday after returning home to Caldwell.

Thomas did a great job of reciting the weekend's itinerary, although at times it sounded like things ran together in one big, purple-and-gold blur.

"Friday I got off the plane and two assistants picked me up and took me over to the University's recruiting lounge," Thomas added. "Then I met with Coach Willingham and then we went to the RAM."

"We hung out in the recruiting lounge and then our hosts took us out to hang out with the players in the dorms." Once at the dorms, Thomas and host Scott Shugert found themselves playing Guitar Hero and hanging out with Jake Locker and Paul Homer.

"I've played it before, but I'm not that good at it," Thomas said with a laugh.

And Saturday? "We woke up and had breakfast at the Conibear Shellhouse and then they got professors from all the different majors talk with us," Thomas said. "I talked with a Forestry professor, which was cool. From there we took a trip around the weight room and then went to the basketball game. Man, that was a close game! Then we ate lunch, hung out in the lounge and then talked with Coach (Mike) Denbrock. Then we went back to our hotel rooms for a couple of hours to take a nap and then had dinner at the Don James Center. That was pretty nice. We all stood out and told everyone who we were and where we were from."

This morning included breakfast at Chandler's, before UW Defensive Line Coach Randy Hart gathered Thomas and drove him out to Sea-Tac to catch his flight back to Boise.

With offers from Idaho, Idaho State, Montana, Oregon State and Utah, Thomas had plenty of choices, but he knew he wanted to be a Husky after checking out the Arizona State game his junior year. "None of them have really kept in touch all that much," Thomas said. "They all knew I wanted to go to Washington."

So once the offer came, the commitment came naturally. In the meantime, Terence absorbed as much information he could about the school. Ironically enough, despite the distance between Seattle and Caldwell, Thomas might know more about the University of Washington than any of the local committed players.

So when it came to picking out a highlight, it wasn't the basketball game, or the tours or any of the other things he saw. It was the team. "I got to hang out with the players, and that's what reaffirmed it for me," he said. "I got to see what they are really like, and they are all good guys. I met Juan Garcia, (Scott) Shugert and Locker - he's a good guy. He was studying for a final. When he finished, he showed us up in Guitar Hero. He's not awesome, but he's better than I am."

How about his conversation with his future head coach? "It was pretty low-key," Thomas said. "He just told me that once I get here I'm not going to get too huge. I'll probably play somewhere around 315-320 (pounds). And I've never had a lot of fat on me. Basically we just talked about low-key stuff. He just told me to finish the year strong - keep lifting and keep active and keep working out hard. They told me to stay where I'm at, because they get a lot of kids that get fat and they have to work that off of 'em."

Terence added that he probably gained five pounds during his visit. "We ate so many meals at so many places, it was unreal," he said with a laugh. "And everyone was so professional. The coaches and the assistants and all the little people that you never think of. The recruiting lounge...they keep that thing stacked with candy and so much Gatorade that you'd probably throw up if you sat in there for too long. And they had X-Boxes in there too."

Willingham wanted some help from Thomas during his visit. "He (Willingham) wanted us to help pull in some of the uncommitted guys, like (David) DeCastro," he said. "It's probably for us to do it than the coaches, in some ways - because we are playing right next to them."

Did Thomas think the committed guys did a decent job in trying to sway DeCastro off his earlier verbal commitment to Stanford? "I thought we did pretty good, but I could see him going to Stanford too," Thomas said. "He's a pretty smart guy."

Thomas also had an in-depth meeting with Offensive Line Coach Mike Denbrock. "He (Denbrock) told me and (Drew) Schaefer to work on switching our stances," Thomas said. "I've been doing a right-handed stance since I started playing football, but I figured they were probably going to ask me to do both, so I did nothing but left-handed stance this year. It took me a couple of weeks to get used to it and then I was used to it. Going back to right-handed was a little weird, but I could get back to it.

"He said there's no set design as to where we'll play or what we'll do when we get there. He said he's not afraid to play anybody, as long as they are ready for it." Top Stories