Rising Target

A fast-rising West Virginian took in his first game at Mountaineer Field as a recruiting prospect last weekend, and you could almost hear his smiles as he described his impressions of game day at WVU.

Mount View (W. Va.) tight end Shannon Thomas had been to Mountaineer Field as a fan, but last weekend he took in his first game as a West Virginia recruiting prospect, and the experience was almost too much for him to describe.

"It's just a great atmosphere," Thomas said as he recounted his visit. "I think it's a great for the players and the coaches, and when you add the fans in, oh my goodness. It was like a dream come true. It seemed like nothing could go wrong for you there. I'd love to play in that kind of atmosphere. I'd love to go see them again."

As could be guessed from his comments, Thomas has West Virginia firmly atop his list of favorite schools. Although he would also like to visit Virginia and Marshall, he made it clear that the Mountaineers were number one on his list.

The first order of business for Thomas is to continue the progress he made since his junior year. Playing in a run-oriented offense at Mount View, he caught ten passes for just under 200 yards a year ago. He's already caught half that many in just two games this year (both wins), and hopes to build on what was a successful summer camp season.

Thomas attended an individual camp session at WVU, and won a skill position MVP award for his performance. It was there that he also learned some things about the recruiting process.

"Last year I didn't know a thing about recruiting," said the ultra-polite Thomas. "When I went to West Virginia's camp, I realized that you have to show up and perform. You have to go get it, because no one is going to give you anything."

Thomas was enough of a go-getter to earn the attention of the Mountaineer coaching staff, which is watching him closely during his senior season. He will be providing WVU with senior game tape within the next couple of weeks, and hopes that an offer will be forthcoming soon.

Thomas (6-4, 230 lbs., 4.7) plays tight end and linebacker for Mount View, which plays with "lots of speed and intensity". He believes they have the ability to win the state AA championship, but knows that there are tough opponents, such as Ravenswood and Tolsia, standing in the way of that goal.

His ultimate goal, of course, is a Division 1 scholarship, and should he continue to improve over the course of the season, it could be that his dream of playing in front of those big crowds at Mountaineer Field could come true.

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