Speed Thrills

The ninth ranked receiver in the country has West Virginia in the top five.

Beaver Falls' Todd Thomas, a 6-4, 180-pounder, lists the Mountaineers as a favorite, along with Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Pitt. He has offers from all but Michigan and Ohio State of now, though the Wolverines have extended scholarship offers to lesser-rated wideouts. Thomas has yet to set a timetable for any decisions as he continues to let offers, like one from Colorado, roll in.

Still a somewhat unhoned player, Thomas' athleticism has allowed him to make plays on the prep level that, without additional coaching, he won't convert collegiately. But his 4.55 40 time and explosion off the line are the uncoachables over which staffs drool. Thomas often ran by solid defenders at the Scout.com combine in Pittsburgh, and his muscle layout and mass belies ability. With his quickness and overall speed added to the development of things like getting off the line and route running, Thomas' potential is very high, among the reasons he has captured WVU's attention.

"I love West Virginia, the atmosphere, the environment and all of it," said Thomas, whose 4.59 40 time ranked fifth in the Pittsburgh combine. "The coaches are nice. Even though the head coach went to Michigan, it's still a good school. I am trying to get on the field a soon as possible, though if I do sit out mainly during my freshman year, I would like to just redshirt. Then I'd still have all four years."

The early playing time, along with Thomas' desire to have a relaxed atmosphere on and off campus, would seem to put the Mountaineers in good standing. Of the top five, only Penn State might be able to match both the collegiate campus atmosphere and possibility for early action. Pitt's surrounding environment is urbanized and doesn't mesh with the "smoothness" Thomas seeks. Ohio State's Columbus location is larger than Pittsburgh, and it appears the Wolverines will take stock of other wideouts before Thomas.

"I want everything, the environment outside and inside the campus to run smooth," he said. "I don't want any craziness. I want everything to go smooth at whatever college I pick."

Thomas caught 11 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns last season, numbers that were down from his 21 receptions for 412 yards and three scores as a sophomore. That was largely because the rising senior was increasingly utilized in the running game, ripping off 152 carries for 1,261 yards and 16 scores. He has nine career interceptions and made 36 solo stops last season.

The Pennsylvania native has yet to decided on an academic major, but will attend at least one more camp this year. Thomas is also undecided on visits or team camps, though he said it is "definitely likely" that West Virginia will get one of five official visits.

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