Phoenix Desert Vista senior quarterback Nick Thomas said he will play football for the Air Force Academy and looks forward to serving his country.
Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds called it a good fit for the mobile quarterback, who led the Thunder to the 6A Conference quarterfinals, before losing to eventual state champion Chandler High.
“He was excited when he came back from the trip,” Hinds said. “They did a good job recruiting him. They talked to him about how his skills fit in with their offense.”
Thomas, 6-foot, 190 pounds, passed for 2,097 yards and 16 touchdowns with just three interceptions and ran for 527 yards and six more scores on a 7-5 team.
He said he felt an immediate “brotherhood” during his recruiting trip.
“I also feel that it is a place where I can excel in football, considering the offense they run and the abilities I have,” Thomas said.
Thomas got input from Desert Vista defensive back coach Mike France, who received an engineering degree in 1982 from the Air Force Academy. France flew F-16s for 20 years in the military.
Hinds said France has been set up for life through his service in the Air Force.
“Serving after I graduate is something I look forward to,” Thomas said. “It’s basically like having a guaranteed job after graduation with good pay and benefits.
“More importantly, it is an opportunity to serve for the greatest country in the world, which has given me the great opportunity to play football and excel in all aspects of life.”
Thomas, who is the nephew of former Tempe McClintock, Kansas State and NFL quarterback Dan Manucci, passed for 2,097 yards and 16 touchdowns with just three interceptions last season. He completed 167 of 280 passes. He also ran for 527 yards and six TDs. He rallied Desert Vista to a 20-17 victory over Mesa Desert Ridge late in the season with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Jake White in the waning moments.
“Nick is a mature kid,” Hinds said. “He sees the end game in this.”