The talent we’ll see on Friday nights this fall will be among the best that Jacksonville has ever produced. Numerous high school football players in the area are either already committed or will commit to power-five college football programs. One of these prospects is three-star Oakleaf safety Donovan Thomas.
1010XL recently caught up with Thomas to talk about his recruitment and look ahead to his senior campaign at Oakleaf.
“As is stands right now, I have a top three of Virginia Tech, Kentucky and Georgia Tech and not in any specific order,” Thomas told 1010XL. “I haven’t gotten an offer from Georgia Tech yet.”
Thomas (6-feet-2, 180 pounds) says schools are looking at him in different ways during his recruiting process.
“I know with Virginia Tech, they would like me at both safety spots and then sometimes at nickel,” Thomas said. “I know their cornerbacks coach really likes me, so I could be playing safety and corner at Virginia Tech.
“Kentucky projects me to grow and become a linebacker by the time I get to college. LSU and Duke have both said that about me as well, so I’m keeping being a linebacker in mind as well.”
Thomas is joined at Oakleaf by four-star recruits Jalen Rivers and Chantz Williams who are going through the recruiting process as well. Thomas says it’s been fun going through the process with them.
“I know they got their offers and stuff first and I was really excited for them,” Thomas said. “When I got my first offer they were excited for me.
“It has been fun being able to talk with them about how their process is going and tell them how mine is and also to find out what they are looking for in the future with the schools they are going to.”
Oakleaf was moved up to 8A football for this upcoming season and put into a district that already features Mandarin and Georgia quarterback commit Carson Beck along with Sandalwood and Florida State quarterback commit Jeff Sims.
Thomas says he is looking forward to the challenge.
“If I’m being honest, it can be 6A, 7A, or 8A, because it’s just football to me,” Thomas said. “Playing against those two great quarterbacks is going to be a challenge because I know these past few years the quarterbacks we have played against weren’t that good with the exception of Joey Gatewood at Bartram Trail. So, it’s going to be a real exciting season.”
“Going into my senior year I feel like I have shoes that I have not filled in yet. We used to have some great players on defense, but I feel like the defense really hasn’t held that and we need to do that this year. We want to bring back that Oakleaf defense that everybody knows about.”
Spring football is right around the corner and Thomas knows that this upcoming season may be his most challenging to date.
“This year is probably going to be my hardest year because the seniors that we had this past season, I was really close to them and now I don’t have anybody to look up to,” Thomas said. “Everybody will now be looking up to me, so I just have to be a leader.”
Before the regular season arrives in August, Thomas will be on the road taking numerous college visits.
“This summer I’m going to a camp in Kentucky and on April 13, I’m going up to watch Virginia Tech’s spring game,” Thomas said. “I haven’t made plans to go back to Georgia Tech yet, but I will once I see how my schedule is looking.”
Finally, should we expect a commitment from Thomas in the near future?
“I’m going to play it out and see where my senior year takes me before I decide on committing somewhere.”
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreen1010XL)