To get Wisconsin’s first commitment from a linebacker for the class of 2015, Gary Andersen and his staff had to go all the way down to the Sunshine State.
Nick Thomas, a three-star middle linebacker according to 247Sports, verbally committed to the Badgers Thursday after taking an unofficial visit to the campus in Madison the day before.
After spending the first two years of his high school football career in Concordia, Kansas, Thomas played his junior season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. His coach at the IMG Academy is Chris Weinke, who won the Heisman Trophy back in 2000 as a quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles.
Last month, UW became the first school to offer him a scholarship, though didn’t receive another one until Hawaii made an offer just this Tuesday.
However, Thomas’ stock started to spike after he participated in a camp in Miami a couple of weekends ago, where he was named the MVP among all linebackers in attendance. Though he had yet to receive any offers, Thomas was beginning to garner significant interest from schools like Oklahoma, Baylor, Miami, Duke, and Kansas.
But despite this additional interest, the unofficial visit essentially sealed the deal for Wisconsin, as Thomas wasted little time afterward to commit to the Badgers and take to Twitter to express his excitement.
— Nicholas Thomas (@nickbeach_) June 12, 2014
“This week I saw the campus and met all the coaches, and I just instantly knew that it was the right place for me and I needed to go ahead and commit,” he stated after his commitment was announced. “The facilities were great, the players were awesome, the coaches were amazing – it’s just a perfect fit.”
The 6-foot-2, 222 pound Thomas has gotten high marks for his size-to-speed ratio (he has clocked in at 4.62 seconds in the 40-yard dash), field awareness, and overall athleticism.
His coach was also quick to voice his approval of Thomas’ commitment to the Badgers.
“I think [Wisconsin] is going to be a great fit for Nick Thomas,” Weinke said. “He’s our team captain, a leader on defense and an athletic linebacker that can play any of those positions for the Badgers.”
247Sports.com’s Composite Rankings lists him as the country’s No. 33 inside linebacker and Florida’s No. 109 overall prospect for the class of 2015.
Thomas becomes UW’s ninth commitment for 2015, and their fourth on defense.