Klein (Tex.) Collins safety Jordan Thomas can sum up his junior season with one word: productive.
"I played corner and safety my freshman and sophomore seasons and this year they flipped me over and I played wide receiver," he said.
As with any change, the transition took some getting used to. In retrospect, Thomas recognizes it as an opportunity to get better as an overall football player.
"As the year progressed, I got better as a player and I learned more of the game. I'm not just a one-sided player; I got a feel for both offense and defense. I grew as a player," he said.
The 6-foot-1.5, 185-pound prospect committed to Northwestern in December and will likely play safety for the Wildcats. His time on offense this season offered Thomas a new perspective on-and advantage to-the defensive back position that he's eager to take with him to the next level.
"It opened my mind to different combinations of routes. Ultimately, it helped me understand when receivers' hips go certain ways, what routes could possibly come out of that movement and what not, so it broadened my learning curve," he said.
What can Wildcat followers expect to see from this talented prospect? Thomas will be the first to acknowledge his size plays a big part in his role on the field.
"I have an advantage when it comes to the bigger receivers because I am a lot taller and longer. I can jump just as high as they can and I can reach in as far as they can, so it gives me an advantage over some players who are shorter and not as lanky," he said.
For Thomas, it's not all about football. Northwestern's esteemed educational reputation was one of the biggest factors in Thomas' commitment.
"My family is very big on academics. My dad kind of pushed me towards the more prestigious schools and Northwestern is one of the top in the nation; I think their graduation percentage is around 97.6%. It's a great school academically and it's also on the quarter system, which I think is the coolest thing," he said.
Thomas, whose recruitment has been spearheaded by linebackers coach Randy Bates, had the opportunity to visit campus in December, a trip which solidified his decision.
"It was beautiful; it's right on Lake Michigan and our practice facilities are only a few minutes away from the actual campus. Chicago is right there, just down the street. I also like the weather, I like it cold; I've lived in the Texas heat my whole life, so I'm excited. The people are great and really friendly; there's a family environment. I felt at home with the guys up there," he said.
Thomas, who was the first commit in Northwestern's 2014 class, has continued to hear from other programs but is set in his decision to play for the Wildcats. Though his own commitment is now behind him, the defensive back is still keeping an eye on the future of his recruiting class.
"We actually just got a recent commit, Clayton Thorson. He's a 6-foot-4, 190-pound quarterback from Illinois, so that's a big catch for us," he said.
Keep it at FOX Sports NEXT and PurpleWildcats.com for the latest information on Northwestern recruiting.