Franklin High (Reisterstown, Md.) receiver Ian Thomas announced on signing day he was heading to…
18 in 18: WR Ian Thomas
Ian Thomas looked at Rutgers two ways. If Mohamed Sanu was there, it would be great to learn from him for a year. If Sanu left for the NFL early, which happened, it opened a slot for Thomas to earn playing time. Like most of the 18 incoming freshmen, the Franklin High (Reisterstown, Md.) graduate will arrive in a few weeks and begin the summer bridge program, but he nearly joined Leonte Carroo, Darius Hamilton and Derrick Nelson in entering school late last month. "If it were up to him, he would have left last week," Thomas's coach, Anthony Burgos, said. "He was contemplating leaving and doing the first summer session there, and then coming back just to walk for graduation. Coach (Kyle Flood) told him it was no big rush to come now and he could come the second session." The delay in arriving hasn't meant the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Thomas has been relaxing at home waiting for camp to arrive. When Burgos looks out from the school during late afternoons, he often sees Thomas working out on the track. "The kid has been working his butt off, so I'm anxious to see how he is when he gets to camp," Burgos said. "A big part of it is learning the college game, and the tempo of the game. I told him, ‘Practice is going to be miles from us.' " Burgos doesn't believe Thomas' issues will come from the physical standpoint, but rather how quickly he adapts to the mental aspect of a markedly larger playbook. "He and I were having a conversation the other day and this is what I said -- how quick are you going to learn the system?" Burgos said. "Athletically, on the field, I don't think that's going to be an issue. I think it's going to be the terminology and learning the system. It's the only thing that will hold him back in the beginning." Thomas heads into a receiver situation that has talent, but also in need of a few consistent performers to round out a six-man rotation. Brandon Coleman, Mark Harrison, Tim Wright and Quron Pratt will be four of the top receivers, and Thomas will compete with Jeremy Deering, Miles Shuler and Carroo. Burgos, though, believes Thomas can fit in immediately. Thomas finished his senior season with 38 catches for 716 yards and seven touchdowns, rushed 34 times for 255 yards and two scores. As a safety, he made 57 tackles and intercepted four passes. "He's explosive, he moves well and he has good hands," Burgos said. "He has all the skill set to play right away. It's a matter of learning the college game, learning the check offs and those things. "I think that's why he wanted to get up there right away, and he wants to play early. That's the other part. He's not a kid looking to red-shirt."
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