West Virginia fans have long clamored for a tight end or H-Back that can be more than a diversion in the passing game. While not every type of play or player can be featured in any offensive system, a recent walk-on commitment hopes that he can bring some contributions to that area of the Mountaineer attack.
Corey Thomas, who has played both outside and slot receiver for Chantilly High School, has committed to WVU as a preferred walk-on, and sees himself as having the ability to get out into pass routes and produce in the passing game
"They are looking at me in that H-Back and tight end role, said Thomas, who currently checks in at six feet, five inches and 220 pounds. "They want me to get up to around 240 or 245. They've sent me the workout routine and I have already put some weight on, so I think I can get there pretty easily. I seem myself maybe similar to David Sills. We have a similar frame and body type."
While Sills is an outside receiver, a pairing with Thomas on the inside sounds enticing. WVU does have Trevon Wesco at the tight end position, and his development will be a key factor to watch the spring, but the addition of Thomas could help down the road. As a senior, playing both outside and in the slot, he had 40 catches for more than 700 yards and seven scores.
"When WVU saw that, I think it was eye-opening for them," Thomas said. "They saw my versatility at camp, and that is one of my biggest strengths. I can line up anywhere, and I have good ball skills. I can make plays once I get the ball."
Thomas honed his athletic skills as a basketball player, but has only been playing football for three years. That opens up the potential for rapid improvement as he gets coached in West Virginia's system. The fact that he worked his way into a premier receiving position in high school backs up that notion, but now he's back at the proveribal bottom of the heap in terms of proving himself.
"That's a huge motivation for me," he said of his walk-on status. "I was cut from my varsity basketball team as a sophomore, but that kind of thing just turns into fuel for me. It makes me work harder, and it inspires me. I read Justin Arndt's text about walking on and earning a scholarship, and that got me fired up. I've never been highly ranked or highly recruited, but that's just more motivation."
Thomas had some lower level scholarship offers as well as walk-on interest from other schools, but he found the best fit for himself at WVU.
"My dad and I really talked a lot about it. My dad always wanted me to chase my dreams and goals, and I think I have the chance to do that and earn a scholarship at WVU. I've discussed that with the coaches. Unfortunately, Coach Crook, who was recruiting me, left, but Ryan Dorchester kept recruiting me and has welcomed me to the program."
Thomas will enroll at WVU for the summer sessions and begin workouts with the team upon his arrival. During the spring, he is not playing other sports, but focusing on the workout and preparation program the Mountaineers have sent him.