While many high school seniors are looking forward to enjoying their final semester before heading off to college, there is one that is already thinking about the next level.
Many Tigers offensive lineman Garrett Thomas is a week from graduating from high school and will be enrolling early at the University of Texas to continue his football career.
“I’ve had a great run at Many and I really look forward to playing at Texas,” Thomas said. “Going there to visit, I liked it and I felt like it was a great fit athletically and academically.”
Thomas, who committed to the Longhorns last July and is a four-star recruit according to ESPN, is one of 26 commits from coach Charlie Strong’s first full recruiting class that ranks No. 8 in the nation.
“Getting there early will help him out a ton,” Many coach Jess Curtis said. “I expect for him to perform well at Texas. A recruiter told me that he was a can’t-miss prospect, because he’s smart and talented.”
Thomas was highly sought out as a prospect as schools such as LSU, Miami and Arkansas, but decided to go Texas to help rebuild a program that has went just 36-28 since its appearance in the 2009 Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.
“The thing that sold me with Texas was Coach (Charlie) Strong,” Thomas said. “When some of those players had allegations against them, Coach Strong cleared those guys out. Normally coaches don’t do that, but seeing him do that made me want to play for him more.”
Yet, getting to this point took another good coach’s guidance.
A two-time selection to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA) All-State Class 2A team, Thomas anchored the Tigers to their first Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) title Dec. 12 after their win against Kinder.
“Garrett has been a great player throughout his career at Many,” Curtis said. “He has the size, the smarts and the hard working mentality, and those are great ingredients for success. It’s a dream come true for him. I’ve been watching him grown and now he’s one of the best run blockers in the state. We’re all proud of him.”
Thomas also was a stellar student in the classroom, achieving a 4.0 grade point average, allowing him to graduate and enroll at Texas early.
“He’s a tremendous leader,” Curtis said. “He led by example on and off the field and he was so instrumental in us winning the state title with some of our other seniors.”
While it will be a little strange to not graduate with some his childhood friends, Thomas understands what is at stake.
“Obviously, it’s going to be a little different, but I have to move on to bigger and better things,” Thomas said. “When you get an opportunity like this, it is hard to pass it up. I’m setting high goals for myself and hope to get stronger in order to compete at this level.”
However, as he is preparing for the next level, he is giving thanks to the people who were responsible of putting him here.
“Coach Jess is a big reason that I’m in this place,” Thomas said. “We really achieved everything that we set out to achieve last season and we left it all out on the field.”