Thomas Staying Level Headed

With scholarship offers continuing to pour in for the talented three-star safety prospect, Earnest Thomas is trying to simply enjoy the experience before he starts to trim down his list.

MADISON – With offers continuing to roll in and more Midwest college coaches coming to Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's Prep School to evaluate him, it's hard for Earnest Thomas to keep a level head ... let alone remember all 17 of his scholarship offers.

With offers from coast to coast, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound safety admits to being excited and honored by the attention, but is trying to take the process in stride.

"Right now, I just try to stay level headed and my mom and my coach do a good job of that," Thomas told Badger Nation. "My whole family gives me a lot of support. I have a lot of people in my corner. I am just enjoying the process and not wanting to make any decisions until the school year has been done for awhile. I am trying to keep it as far in the back of my mind as possible."

With the calendar about to switch over to June, Thomas acknowledged that he won't be able to relax for long. Holding scholarship offers from Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, Purdue, Penn State, Stanford, UCLA, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Western, Eastern and Central Michigan, Bowling Green, Toledo, Iowa and, last but not least, Wisconsin, Thomas doesn't have any favorites, but does have a good working relationship with UW receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander.

"One of the coaches from Wisconsin got in touch with one of my trainers and my trainer told me that they were interested," Thomas recalled of UW's scholarship offer that came in late April. "I've talked to Coach Alexander a lot since then through emails and he came up to the school with the offer. I was excited about it and a little surprised by the offer. I was just happy they were interested enough in me to offer and Coach Alexander still writes me a lot of letters telling me how interested they are in me.

"I am very interested in them," Thomas added. "Basically, I am just honored and thankful that anybody would want to extend an offer to me. If they are interested in me, I am interested in them. I really don't have a specific order or list of my schools, but I guess what I can say is they have just as good of shot as anyone else. I want to get down there this summer and experience the atmosphere. I know you can't experience the whole feel until you actually go there, but I want to experience as much as possible."

Starting his sophomore year primarily playing strong safety, Thomas was moved to outside linebacker because of injuries and excelled at the new position. Going into junior year, Thomas' coach took advantage of his versatility by putting Thomas, depending on the opponent, at safety or up on the line of scrimmage as a linebacker.

As a result, Thomas registered 85 tackles, 10 sacks and one interception during his junior campaign.

"I would love to play either position and am comfortable playing either position," Thomas said. "I just try to learn everywhere and learn more everyday that I watch film, which I do all the time. I watch film of great players and try to emulate what they do while still playing my game. I tell everybody that I am a football player and that I want to go out there and make plays."

Looking at Thomas' offer list, two schools that are noticeably absent are the two biggest Division I schools in the state – Michigan and Michigan State. Although both schools have recruited him from the start and both school's coaching staffs have been talking to him more consistently over the past several weeks, neither school has extended an offer, something Thomas is perfectly fine with.

"I get that question a lot about Michigan and Michigan State and honestly, I don't know," Thomas said when asked why the schools haven't offered. "With as many offers that I have, I am just trying to work hard and prepare myself for that next level. I am happy just trying to learn more about the schools that have offered me right now so as far as Michigan and Michigan State goes, I just feel like it is out of my hands right now. I don't think about it because that's how the game goes sometimes. It's definitely no hard feelings but I can say that I would definitely enjoy playing them if I went to the Big Ten."

With visits already planned to UCLA and Indiana, Thomas knows that he has a busy slate ahead of him. With that in mind, the talented three-star prospect and 32nd-ranked safety in the country by Scout.com won't announce his decision until he finds the perfect fit.

"I am going to make my decision when I have seen all the schools that I want to see and it feels right," Thomas said. "My mom asks me sometimes what I am going to do. I always tell her that it might be tomorrow, it might the next day, it might be a year from now or it might be a month from now. I really don't have a timetable. If I feel like a school is right for me and I can see myself being there for four or five years and having fun, that's where I will be."


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