SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

May 10, 2013

Nationally recruited RB Thomas chooses Maryland

(Continued)

Thomas had said he wanted to make a decision before preseason practice began. He just returned from a visit to Arkansas last Sunday and Monday. Playing in the SEC was a great opportunity, but the school was too far away from home for Thomas.

“Originally Johnny set his perimeter anywhere from the Carolinas up and no further west than Ohio,” said O’Leary. “He has been receiving mail from Alabama, Cincinnati, and Wisconsin. Penn State was in again on Wednesday, but (head coach and former St. John’s Prep player) Billy O’Brien only has 15 scholarships to offer.

“I know he had a great visit to Arkansas, and they ran a four minute feature clip about him on the local nightly news. That would be like channel 4 or 5 doing it here which would never happen when a recruit came to see BC. Football is very important down there, and they did his visit up first class. Going to Maryland means he’ll be away, but it’s close to Baltimore and a plane ride home any time he wants. They were looking for a power running back, and he fits the bill. Every college is looking to line up their running backs early.”

Veteran head coach Randy Edsall was previously the head man at UConn and also worked as an assistant under Tom Coughlin for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL.

“They were looking for another running back, and when I told them I made my decision to accept their offer they were very glad,” said Thomas. “Maryland was one of the schools that didn’t pressure me to commit, and I liked that. Some others kept telling me they wanted to know right away which was stressful. I really liked the way the program was run at Maryland.”

O’Leary said it was interesting how the Terps first became interested in Thomas. The family was going to a birthday party in the area, and Thomas intended to visit Virginia while they were there. He told O’Leary he’d like to stop at Maryland, too.

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