The waiting is over. St. John’s Prep junior running back Johnathan Thomas has verbally committed to play football at the University of Maryland. Thomas, who is from Peabody, sat down with his family on Wednesday night to talk about his many scholarship offers. After deciding he wanted to be a Terrapin he informed Prep coach Jim O’Leary yesterday.
“I loved Maryland’s location, and I definitely loved the coaching staff there,” said Thomas. “The environment, the campus, and being right outside Baltimore all seemed perfect. I have family in Virginia and also in Philadelphia and New York. They can come to see me play.
“Maryland was one of the first schools interested in me. They recruited me heavily, and I definitely felt the love. The first time I visited back in January they offered me right away.”
Thomas led the Eagles to the Division 1 Super Bowl championship last fall when he ran for over 1800 yards with 15 touchdowns as well as three TD receptions. After he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 at the Under Armour Combine in Florida in January offers began pouring in.
“Boston College, Maryland, and Arkansas were his final three,” said O’Leary. “If he wanted to Johnny could have collected 50 scholarship offers, but that’s not what he was looking for. Some kids love the recruiting process, but Johnny didn’t enjoy the pressure. He and his family were looking for a good academic school first. Playing Division 1 football was also important to him.
“He can only make a verbal commitment and won’t be able to sign until February, but at St. John’s we try to impress athletes that they are giving their word. It’s not something to be taken lightly. People will still keep in contact with me, but they will move on to other athletes. We’ll still see a lot of college scouts around though because we have five other juniors who will have lots of opportunities.”