Johnny Thomas turned more than a few heads while showcasing his talents at the Under Armour Combine in St. Petersburg, Fla., over New Year’s.
The St. John’s Prep junior running back, who was The Salem News Player of the Year and Catholic Conference Offensive Player for 2012, ran the fastest time in the 40-yard dash there. Thomas finished in a blistering 4.47-seconds at the combine that attracted 152 of the best high school football players from all over the country.
“That was the best time recorded,” said Thomas, who was not only fast at the combine but one of the toughest runners to bring down, breaking tackles and gaining extra yards while carrying would-be defenders on his back. “I had a solid all-around performance, including one-on-one drills and 7-on-7.
“Under Armour is one of the best combines in the country for the top high school players. I went to it last year, and my results were much better this time. I don’t think I’ll go to any more (combines).”
The Peabody resident is coming off a spectacular junior season for St. John’s Prep. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound tailback led the North Shore with more than 1,800 yards rushing to power coach Jim O’Leary’s Eagles to the Division 1 Super Bowl championship. He gained over 100 yards rushing in 10 of the 12 games and had over 200 yards rushing three times.
“I’m going to work out and do speed training. I’m like to get my time down to 4.3,” Thomas said. “It will take a while, but that’s the goal I’ve set for myself. I knew what I was in for this time at the combine, so I really didn’t find anything too difficult.”
Thomas ran for 221 yards to spearhead the Eagles’ regular season win over Brockton on the road, then caught a swing pass and outran everyone to get the Eagles off and running against the Boxers in a Super Bowl blowout win.