The former Oxford High running back and new Auburn signee had stood at midcourt in Oxford High School’s gymnasium for a special recognition Wednesday, marking his postseason honors, including Alabama Mr. Football and Parade All-American.
He had just made it back to a corner to join three other teammates who would march out with him to a table, where the four players would mark college football’s national signing day. The players were called out, and Thomas got a late start.
He made quick, choppy steps to catch up with nose tackle Kenyn Richey, tight end/fullback Desmon Owens and safety Tae Davis and settled into his spot in line.
That was the only drama in Oxford’s latest signing-day ceremony as Thomas (Auburn), Richey and Owens (Tuskegee) and Davis (Chattanooga) had already faxed their signed national letters of intent to the universities where they will play their college football.
They had previously announced their choices, and there were no signing-day surprises at Oxford High.
Thomas, the most decorated football player in Oxford history, was the highest-profile signee among the four. Major recruiting services rate him among the top running-back prospects in the country.
He had announced his commitment to Auburn on Aug. 2 of 2013, but signing day meant that he was officially done with recruiting.
“This humbles me a lot,” he said. “It’s an honor. It shows that all my hard work is paying off.”
The same can be said for Richey, Owens and Davis. All are getting the chance to continue their football careers in college.
“It was simple,” Richey said of his choice of Tuskegee. “I only had two schools to offer me. I went down to Miles and looked at their campus and didn’t really like it. Then when I went to Tuskegee, I fell in love.”
He and Owens were both recruited by Tuskegee assistant coach Montressa Kirby, who starred at Anniston High and Jacksonville State.
Owens said his intention to major in chemical engineering made Tuskegee the best of his choices.
As for Davis, he considered Chattanooga, JSU, Southeast Missouri State, Tennessee State and Tuskegee.
“I got a late start in recruiting, but Chattanooga was one of the first to give me a chance and offer,” Davis said. “Once I took my official visit, I just felt like at home.”
Contact Sports Columnist Joe Medley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @jmedley_star.
Video of comments by Thomas:
Video of comments by Davis, Richey and Owens: