DE Bryan Thomas Jr. (6-2 215) of Winter Garden, FL said Sunday night he has cut his list to USC and West Virginia and will make his commitment announcement a week from Monday. Thomas will take his official visit to USC this weekend. He took an official visit to West Virginia in June. He also camped with the Gamecocks in June. Florida International and Marshall were the other two schools on his previous short list.
“It’s really about interest and defensive scheme,” Thomas said. “I like the way Coach (Mike) Peterson (USC) and Coach (Jordan) Lesley (WVU) coach. They show me the most love. Me and my family talked about it. We put the pros and cons together. I just came down to those final two schools.”
Thomas said he and Peterson have been in regular contact. They last talked on Saturday with Peterson congratulating him on his performance Friday night. Then they got down to some recruiting talk.
“He said I’m versatile and I can get to the passer,” Thomas said. “I’m more of an attack person, not read and react. He likes how I get to the ball. He said I’m very coachable, so he wants to have the chance to coach me.”
Thomas said he also talked with Gamecock head coach Shane Beamer Saturday, and like Peterson, Beamer told him he can’t wait to have him in for his official visit this weekend.
“He basically just alluded to what Coach Peterson said,” Thomas said. “He basically said the same thing, that I’m versatile, my get-off and my hands and technique are all good, and they would like to have me.”
Thomas’ father spent several seasons in the NFL, so he has an appreciation for the talent it takes to play in the league, and what a player can take away from that experience. Peterson also had a lengthy NFL career, and that’s a bonus for the Gamecocks as he measures the two opportunities.
“Coach Peterson was in the NFL for a lot of years, and he knows the game like the back of his hand,” Thomas said. “There’s nothing wrong with learning from somebody with experience from the bottom to the pros. And Columbia is a beautiful town. People are nice. The players, I got to meet some of them. I got to meet Jaycee Horn, and that was cool. Very nice people and very nice coaches. They all get along.”
Thomas said his parents and younger brother will join him on the visit. He has a game Friday night, and their plan is to leave after that and head to Columbia.