"I fell in love with the people in West Virginia," Thomas said of his visit to the WVU campus. "The coaches were great. It was the first time I had been that far east, but it was great. I was looking to get away from home to go to college. I like the style of play on offense, too."
LA Harbor ran a similar spread to that which West Virginia runs, so Thomas should have a leg up on fitting into the Mountaineer attack. Thomas played mostly at the outside spot for LA Harbor, but his coach says he would have no problem playing the slot at WVU.
"He's a downtown receiver. He catches the ball and gets up the field," said LA Harbor head coach Steve Schmitz. "He can just flat out run. He catches the ball anywhere, in a crowd, in the open field. He's the kind of receiver that everyone looks for."
Schmitz says that Thomas has legitimate 4.3 speed, and that several of his long scores left defenders grasping at air.
"He had a 99 yard touchdown reception this year, and he was neck and neck with the defender when he caught the ball. By the time he crossed the goal line, he was 15 yards in front."
Thomas was also a kickoff returner for Schmitz, but that duty didn't last long.
"He ran a kickoff back for a TD early in the year, and after that other teams kicked away from him," Schmitz noted.
Thomas spent his freshman season at El Camino before coming to LA Harbor for his sophomore year, where he blossomed under the tutelage of assistant coach Wayne Vanderleest. Vanderleest is a former Division 1 assistant, and his mentoring, couple with Thomas' talent, made a tough combination to stop.
Schmitz believes that Thomas will have no trouble putting on a few pounds at West Virginia, where regular meals and weight training will be an improvement over the average junior college program.
"He'll put on 15 pounds easily," Schmitz said of the 6-1, 175 pound receiver. "He has broad shoulders, and he is bigger that what he first appears when you look at him."
Thomas is excited about coming to WVU, and thinks that his speed and ability to read defenses, which improved dramatically during his sophomore year, are his best attributes.
"I've gotten better at seeing what the defense is doing. That, and my speed, are the best things I have going for me."
Thomas is not cocky, however. He knows that the jump to Division 1 will be a big one, and he's gladd to get the chance to play in a major conference.
"I'm just happy to get the opportunity to keep playing," Thomas said. "Everyone has been asking me about my decision, so it's a relief to get it out of the way."
Thomas, who will be a sports management major, was also recruited by California and LSU, among others. He was hosted on his visit by fellow California juco Derrick Smith, and met a third west coast teammate, Aaron Neal, on his visit to the WVU campus.