If you play receiver at Shreveport (La.) Evangel then you will have a chance to put up some big numbers.
No one knows that better than Eric Thomas.
Thomas had some eye-popping stats as a junior as the Eagles marched to the Class 2A state semifinals before falling to John Curtis, 35-14. Along the way, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Thomas finished second on his squad with 1,042 yards on 74 catches.
While he finished second to Quinn Giles – a Louisiana Tech signee – in yards and catches, Thomas led the Eagles in touchdown receptions (22) and yards per game (148.9), taking into account that he played in only seven games due to some minor injuries.
To date, Thomas has one offer from ULM but is getting a considerable amount of interest from plenty of others, including LSU, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Texas Tech.
Some may be a little miffed at the lack of overtures from college coaches after the remarkable year he had in 2008, but Thomas understands what the holdup is.
“The thing I hear from just about everyone is that they like me and they want to get me to one of their camps,” Thomas said. “But since my highlight film hasn’t been done yet they don’t know much about me other than what they’ve heard or maybe seen if they saw one of our games last year.”
Those who have seen Thomas in person have commented on his ability to excel on the gridiron.
“It’s my size and the way I catch the ball,” said Thomas. “I can create some mismatches with my size and speed. If the DB’s are small then I have a real advantage because of my leaping ability.”
That leaping ability was never more evident than a week and a half ago when Thomas made the game-winning grab in the Evangel 7-on-7 National Tournament that featured teams from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Kansas.
Trailing 30-25 with time for only one more play, Evangel quarterback David Dee Duron heaved a desperation pass into the back corner of the end zone. Low and behold Thomas was there to save the day as he out-jumped three Lake Charles-LaGrange defenders for the winning score.
While Thomas is waiting on more feedback from most of the coaches who are recruiting him, he already received some from LSU receivers coach D.J. McCarthy after working out on the first day of LSU’s camp in June.
“Coach Mac and them told me at the camp that they wanted me to come back down in July because they had no idea I was as big as I was or as fast as I was,” Thomas explained.
Although the critique that he received from LSU was limited, it did give Thomas something to look forward to as he hopes to have a more extended stay in Baton Rouge for Miles’ camp in July.
The Tigers are currently one of several teams that have piqued his interest, but two in particular have captivated Thomas’ attention more than the others and he briefly explained why.
“That’s LSU and Texas Tech,” Thomas said.
LSU – “I just like being down in Baton Rouge. I like being around the football program and they’ve put a lot of receivers in the NFL. They’re at the top for me right now and I’m hoping they offer.”
Texas Tech – “They have the spread offense and they throw the ball a lot. I think I’d be a good fit for what they do.”
With LSU sitting at the top of Thomas’ list, he hopes to impress the coaches even more over the coming weeks and months. And should an offer come his way, it may be hard for the talented athlete to turn down.
“Yes sir, it would be hard,” said Thomas, who claims a 2.8 grade point average and a 16 on the ACT. “And it’s a decision I hope I have to make.”