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August 23, 2005One of the nation's top junior college wide receivers is Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College's Devin Thomas, and he has three schools at the top of his list.
Thomas, 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds. He has a 345-pound bench press max and a 440-pound squat. He redshirted last season for the 10-2 Red Ravens, and he will have three years to play three at the university he chooses.
"I think we've got a real good team this year," Thomas said. "We've all worked hard, and we're looking forward to a really good season and to go taking care of business."
The main schools recruiting the former all-state receiver are Arkansas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Michigan and Michigan State. Thomas, who rushed and caught passes for over 1,000 yards and 23 touchdowns, while intercepting 7 passes for Class 5A Canton (Mich.) High School, has three favorites.
"I would have to say my top three would have to be Michigan State, Arkansas and Michigan," he said.
Thomas is being recruited to Arkansas by receivers coach James Shibest. He had a chance to check out the UA campus this summer, and he is impressed with what he saw.
"He seems like a likeable guy. He's very entertaining, and we have very good conversation. He just told me I could be part of the success at Arkansas," Thomas said of Shibest. "I came down there in the summertime with Woody Wilson, and I liked what I saw. It was a beautiful campus. Everything was really nice. The weight room and stuff really impressed me. I think it seemed like a really nice place to be - beautiful surroundings."
Thomas, who was born in Ann Arbor (Mich.), grew up cheering for the Wolverines. He is being recruited to Michigan by assistant coach Erik Campbell. He also appreciates the way the Spartans are recruiting him.
"Well, being from Ann Arbor, Michigan is in my backyard," he said. "So, I've always been a big fan of the Wolverines. But lately, with spring ball, Michigan State came down and checked me out, and they seemed very interested in me going to Lansing, Michigan.
"Coach John L. Smith, he's a nice guy. I met with him over the summertime, and he just said he'd like me to come up there also, and he's looking forward to hearing from me," he said. "Coach Campbell, I spoke with him, and he said they're going to keep in touch."
Thomas is looking forward to speaking with some of the coaches recruiting him soon. At that time, he will likely begin setting up a few official visits.
"I guess I'll find out more when I talk to some coaches, when I get some communication with them and figure out a time to meet up," he said.
This is only Thomas' second year as a full-time wide receiver. He has plenty of skills, but he admits there are some areas in which he needs to improve. He has the talent to be a great wideout.
"Of course, I'd like to compare myself to Braylon Edwards," he said. "That's someone I look up to and have always tried to achieve to be like, somewhat. But as far as that goes, I'd say my strengths are me being pretty physical with the D-backs. I like to be pretty physical, and I run good routes and I've got good speed. I've got good hands and good hand-eye coordination.
"Weaknesses, I'd say I haven't played a lot of receiver. This is only my second year, really, as a full receiver. In high school, I played a little receiver, and running back and defensive back. I need to develop at the position, and I'll get better with time."
Thomas would like to go to a school that signs a big-time quarterback. He has followed the recruitment of the nation's No. 13 overall prospect, Mitch Mustain. Mustain is rated the No. 2 quarterback in the country by Rivals.com, and he was No. 1 at one point during the summer.
"I think it will [be a factor] because I want to play with a quarterback who has been there and is a proven winner," Thomas said. "Coach Shibest told me about him. I think that would be something really nice. I know he has a lot on his shoulders with people pushing him up and him being the number one quarterback. So, I'm sure he's been through some pressure before."
Thomas has a 33-inch vertical leap, and he has maneuvered the shuttle in 4.16 seconds. He has also done 15 reps in the 225-pound bench press.
Coffeyville CC plays Air Force's junior varsity squad on Saturday for the season opener. HawgSports.com's Otis Kirk will be in attendance, so stay tuned for the latest developments on Thomas.
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