Change of Plans

The best of plans are subject to any number of potential problems, which is why this talented running back missed out on a planned visit to West Virginia.

Frostproof (Fla.) High School's Carlton Thomas had planned to make a trip to West Virginia for summer football camp, but some transportation problems meant that he had to forego the trip. However, that doesn't mean the Mountaineers are out of his plans.

"I am still very interested in West Virginia," Thomas said after detailing the transportation breakdown that led to the cancellation of his visit. "I've started to narrow my schools down a little bit, but West Virginia is still in there with Notre Dame, Auburn, Iowa, Rutgers and Clemson. Those are my top schools right now."

Thomas, who has not set a timetable for a decision and is in no hurry to do so, said that an official visit to West Virginia after his senior season is a strong possibility.

"I will probably take all of my visits, and I'm really not in a hurry to make my decision," he confirmed. "I have a lot of things I'm looking for in a school. I want a good education, and the entire team aspect is important to me. I want to see how the players get along, and the coaching staff is important too. And I want to go to a school that's competitive in the BCS."

That last factor might seem to favor West Virginia and Auburn a bit over the other schools on his list, and Thomas has, in fact, been consistent in mentioning those schools. However, he did not place his list of schools in any order, and seems committed to learning as much as he can about each of his suitors during his senior year.

Another item that some of his schools hold in common is a strong running game with a feature back. WVU, with Steve Slaton, along with Auburn, Rutgers and Clemson, all have those components.

"I watch the running backs at those schools a lot," Thomas said. "When I watch Steve Slaton, I think, ‘That's me in my offense.' My high school runs the same offense, and it seems like it's me out there."

Frostproof, which is entering its second year of running the spread, has certainly done its best to imitate the Mountaineers' attack. Thomas ran for 2,283 yards and 25 touchdowns as a junior, and could be poised for an even bigger senior season.

The spread really gives me big running lanes," said Thomas, who isn't the biggest back around but uses his speed and quick moves to take advantage of the offense. "It lets me use my vision to see the defense. That's always been one of my best qualities, and I've always had it."


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