If you ask a high school football player their end goal, most will tell you that they’re dreaming of going to the NFL. Antwon Thomas feels the same way, hoping for a collegiate experience that turns into an NFL career, but unlike most of his peers, he’s receiving major college interest as a freshman.
Thomas, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound quarterback from Orchard Park St. Mary’s High School in West Bloomfield, Michigan, has already received a Division I offer from Bowling Green. And with visits to Bowling Green, Kent State, Akron, Maryland and Pitt, his early recruiting process has been busy.
Pitt’s relationship with Thomas is still in the very early phases, but after a visit Wednesday, he said the overall experience was great.
“What stood out to me the most was the players for Pitt,” Thomas told PSN. “For example, I asked them questions like, “How was your freshman year here at Pitt? And what made you commit to Pitt?” Their response was brotherhood and trust. That stood out to me because my current high school at Orchard Lake St Mary’s in Michigan, the brotherhood is everything there.”
Archie Collins, Pitt’s secondary coach, has been Thomas’s main recruiter through his early process, and as the two share Detroit roots, it’s a strong fit. As a part of a recruiting program called Sound Mind Sound Body, a Detroit-based recruiting agency designed to help local kids earn college scholarships, Thomas was in Pittsburgh.
And Collins wasn’t the only coach Thomas was able to speak with either. Pitt wide receivers coach Tiquan Underwood was able to speak with Thomas, and as someone who has lived Thomas’s NFL dream already, he said his Underwood seems like someone who would be a great mentor.
The overall visit, complete with conversations with current players and the coaching staff was ‘absolutely amazing’ for Thomas, mainly because he could tell Pitt’s players felt at home.
As just a rising sophomore at St. Mary’s, Thomas a long way to go before he has to make a collegiate decision, but he said he’s blessed to just be in the situation he’s in now. However, as a younger player who has received extended interest, he’s also not happy to sit back and let the game come to him either.
“Well, it feels amazing,” Thomas said. “I feel blessed. I’ve been working hard since I was seven years old. Going to college and playing professional football has been my dream. But I won’t let this attention distract me. I am very humble and blessed. It makes me want to work even harder on and off the field. I know there’s room for improvement, and I am ready to show and improve.”
With a busy summer ahead of him, along with three more high schools seasons and summers, Thomas’s stock is going to continue to rise — perhaps exponentially. But Pitt has made a name as one of the first schools to bring the talented quarterback on campus.
“I’m open for another visit at Pitt,” Thomas said. “Maybe even catch a game. That would be cool.”