April 3, 2012

Thomas Finds a Home at Houston

The Houston Cougars got their 2013 recruiting class off to a fast start on Saturday when they landed the first two verbal commitments of their class. Both Houston (TX) running back Denzell Evans and Shreveport (LA) Evangel Christian offensive tackle Josh Thomas saw what they were looking for at Houston's first junior day of the spring and gave their pledge to new head coach Tony Levine and staff.

For Thomas the journey to join the Cougars began as soon as former Evangel coach Brandon Middleton was reunited with his collegiate team in the Cougars as their new wide receivers coach.

"Our relationship is almost like a big brother and little brother type of relationship, said the 6-foot-6, 329 pound tackle of his former and future coach. "He started recruiting me as soon as he got to Houston."

Thomas officially joined the Cougars class Saturday but admits he had made his mind up already and hinted to coach Middleton that his commitment could be coming.

"Three weeks before the junior day I had called coach Middleton and told him I was going to come to the University of Houston to play," said the Rivals three star prospect. "I told him not to tell coach Levine yet though, to let me come look at the campus first and see if I like it."

Needless to say, Thomas really liked what he saw of the University he will call home in the future.

"I don't want to downgrade any school I have been to, because I have been to a couple universities, but by far Houston has some of the nicest facilities including the dorms, the weight room and practice facilities."

Two of the hottest recruiting tools Levine and staff have been given for the latest recruiting class is the new stadium, which is scheduled now to begin being built following the 2012 season, and the school's eminent departure from Conference USA to join the Big East in 2013. Thomas talked about the impact that both of those had on him.

"The stadium really wasn't that big of a factor in my decision because it doesn't matter to me where I play at but moving to the Big East and getting a chance to play Boise State (also slated to begin play in 2013) my freshman year was great. I think that is going to be a good match-up with two high power offensive teams. I'm looking forward to being able to play in that match-up."

The massive tackle is ranked as the 42nd best offensive tackle in the country by Rivals and has had a ton of interest from other schools across the country. Despite many other schools who have told him they are still evaluating him, Thomas does not see a scenario where he would change his decision.

"I'm locked in to Houston," Thomas told CougarsDen. "While I was down there it really felt like home. I'll be happy playing there for four or five years there and getting my degree from the University of Houston. I don't think there is another school in the nation that is going to come offer the same things that Houston has to offer and be able to sway me to go somewhere else."

With his college decision out of the way, Thomas looks to continue to work at getting better and improving his skills for next year and beyond.

"I really want to keep working on my footwork," he said. "I think it is good for my size but it is not where I want it to be at. I want to be faster and quicker than where it is now. I also want to work on my toughness. I am tough but to get ready for college, it is another game and I want to get mentally tougher for that level."

Thomas said his family was unable to make the trip to the junior day with him but they are planning on coming back with him when he comes to compete at Houston's summer camp so they too can meet the staff and see the campus.

In 2011 Thomas was named first team All-District and first team All-State for the 2A classification in Louisiana.

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