Coleman Thomas, a big 6-5, 300-pound offensive lineman, is not a stranger to the West Virginia campus. His sister attends school at the state's flagship institution, so Thomas knows his way around the University City. However, on his last trip to Morgantown the powerful lineman earned some notice of his own.
"I talked with the coaches after camp on Saturday, and they offered me [a scholarship]," Thomas said. "They said I did well. I like the coaches there, and the way they run the camp."
Thomas has attended a number of camps during his football career, even though he's just a rising junior this year. He didn't have anything bad to say about other stops, but noted that there were some differences in the way West Virginia's were conducted.
"The coaches there showed me a lot of new techniques," he noted. "There were a lot of new technique things they showed me, like bringing my hands and feet together when I moved, and locking out with my arms on pass blocking. There were a lot of different drills that I had never done before, and I really liked them. Overall it was just a great camp."
Thomas was pleased with his overall performance, and believes that the things he learned on Saturday will help make him a better lineman in the future.
"I thought I did well on those bag drills," he said of footwork agilities which forces participants to chop their steps and move through bags on the ground without touching them. "The side to side, and the one foot and two feet in [between the bags], those things will really help me."
At his size, it's no surprise that Thomas anchors the center of the offensive line for Fort Chiswell High School, but his position as a linebacker is a bit startling. His spot there stems from the fact that he wasn't nearly as big when be began playing the position as a ninth grader.
I've been playing varsity since the ninth grade, and when I was a freshman I was 6-4 and 250 pounds," said Thomas, apparently unconscious of the irony that a first-year high school student might consider those measurables as 'small'. "I think last year I grew out of my feet a little bit, but I'm getting my mobility back now, and I'll probably stay at linebacker on defense. We're changing things up a little bit this year and I'll be responsible for both the A and B gaps, and I think I can do that."
Thomas also plays basketball and baseball, and believes those sports have helped him with his mobility on the football field. He likes "staying busy" and clearly has fun playing all three major sports.
In addition to West Virginia, Thomas has camped at Virginia Tech, and noted that the Hokie coaches have shown interest in him as well. He plans to continue camp rounds after his junior year and learn as much as he can about as many schools as possible. Still, with WVU offering first, the school has planted a seed that could grow later on.
"The coaches want to see my film, so I will send that in to them after a few games," he said. " I do want to see as many schools as I can and explore my options."