Quarterback Justin Thomas, who had been committed to Alabama for around a year, switched from the Crimson Tide to Georgia Tech on Tuesday night.
It was a stunning turn of events – and good news – for Georgia Tech, which both lured away one of Alabama’s top recruits and added much-needed depth at the QB position.
Thomas is ranked as a 4-star prospect and the No. 19 all-purpose athlete in the country by Rivals.com. He could play multiple positions in college, including QB, WR or DB. Thomas recently led Alabama’s Prattville High School to the Class AAAAAA state championship.
“Alabama promised Justin on several different occasions that he would get the chance to play quarterback there,” the player’s father, Milton Thomas, told the AJC. “We did a lot of research. We know how Alabama uses their quarterbacks, and we know how Georgia Tech uses theirs. We just felt like Georgia Tech was a better fit for how Justin plays the quarterback position.”
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Thomas had been committed to Alabama since last November. Georgia Tech beat out Florida State, LSU and Oregon for Thomas. On Wednesday, Florida State recruiting coordinator Demayune Craig showed up at Thomas’ school to try to convince him to consider the Seminoles, which are “strictly” recruiting Thomas at QB. The elder Thomas told the AJC that his son will only visit Georgia Tech.
Back to Georgia Tech: This was a signature recruiting moment for coach Paul Johnson, who personally handled the recruiting of Thomas. Johnson had an in-home visit with the star quarterback last week and got the big phone call from Thomas on Tuesday after he de-committed from Alabama on Tuesday.
“It was Coach Johnson that sealed the deal,” the elder Thomas said. “They had a long talk, and Justin really liked what he had to say. Coach Johnson won him over, and then he had to win my wife over. She was still a little on the fence with Alabama but then she came around, too.”
The elder Thomas also went out of the way to praise Alabama coach Nick Saban, who had lengthy conversations with the prospect’s family over the past two days. “When Justin called Alabama to let them know he was de-committing, Coach Saban kept telling him ‘If your situation changes, you can always come home to play with us at Alabama.”
Georgia Tech now has 14 commitments for its 2012 recruiting class, including another QB, Dennis Andrews of Tallahassee. Thomas is the third player to pledge to Georgia Tech this week, following Sunday’s commitments of Union Grove DB DJ White and Norcross WR/DB Anthony Autry. Georgia Tech will sign between 15-20 players in February.
Thomas was named MVP of the state championship game after leading Prattville to a 35-34 win over Hoover. Thomas completed 13 of 20 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 151 yards and two touchdowns, according to al.com.
Rusty Mansell, National Recruiting Analyst of 247Sports, had this to say about Thomas:
First thing that you notice on Thomas is pure speed. This a kid that is a legit 4.3 in the 40-yard dash and he is a threat to take it to the house on every single play. He comes from a program at Prattville that knows how to win. He has a good enough arm to make teams respect the pass as well. Anytime you pick up an athlete like this, you make your team better because he is a winner and will push those around him to compete.
See video of Thomas below …
OTHER RECRUITING STORIES
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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