"I was 14 years old playing varsity football," Stonehouse said in a telephone interview Wednesday evening. "He was an 18-year-old guy [actually 17], one of the best players in the state. I was like, ‘Wow, this is insane.'"
Talk about a trial by fire. How did Stonehouse feel he performed against Thomas?
"Not too bad actually," he said. "He didn't really beat me that much. I'm not going to say like I knocked him down or nothing but I held my own I think."
The experience bolstered Stonehouse's confidence.
"For the whole rest of that year my coach, he'd always be like, ‘You blocked Joe Thomas the first game. Just remember that,'" Stonehouse added.
Stonehouse started the rest of West Allis Central's games that season and will be a four-year starter at offensive tackle this fall. He will not receive nearly the level of attention Thomas did from college recruiters his senior year, but Stonehouse hopes to land a scholarship offer with a Big Ten school.
"Well my No. 1 choice right now would be Northwestern because I went down there a few times and I really liked it down there," he said.
Stonehouse, a 6-foot-3, 290-pounder, is still looking for his first scholarship offer. It appears that Mid-American Conference and Ivy League programs are paying him more attention than the Big Ten schools are, but the Wildcats have also shown considerable interest for quite some time.
"They've been sending me letters… for like a year or two," Stonehouse said.
Northwestern was the only major conference school to call Stonehouse in May. Other programs that called include Army, Dartmouth, Illinois State, St. Cloud State and Amherst College.
Stonehouse said he has received letters from about 90 different schools (across all Divisions) including from programs such as Northwestern, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Ball State, Notre Dame, Texas and Tennessee.
But his clear leader is NU. Stonehouse has spent ample time in Evanston this spring and will camp with the Wildcats this summer.
"I've actually been down to Northwestern three times," Stonehouse said. "I went to their junior day. And then I went again for spring practice and I met their linemen coach (James Patton) and I sat in on an offensive line meeting. (I) liked watching practice, so that's cool."
Stonehouse also made an unofficial visit to Wisconsin this spring
"Well, I went up there for their spring practice and I met Barry Alvarez," he said. "They are sending me stuff but it's not like super personalized or anything so I don't really know (how interested they are)."
Stonehouse said he has "always loved the Badgers" but he has little to no interest in playing football at UW.
"I went to their summer camp last year," he said. "I like Madison and everything and I like campus and stuff. But I didn't really like their offensive line coach (Jim Hueber). I relate more to younger coaches and he is an older guy."
Stonehouse has bench pressed 385 pounds and can do 20 repetitions at 225. He also said he squats 515 and runs the 40-yard dash in 5.4 seconds. Primarily an offensive tackle at West Allis Central, where he was second-team all-conference last year, he has also rotated in at defensive tackle. Stonehouse, though, expects to play offensive line in college.
"If I went to a bigger school, because I'm only 6-3 I'd probably play guard or something," Stonehouse said. "But if I was at a little bit smaller school I'd probably play tackle."