By LARRY VAUGHT
During the Marshall County Hoopfest I got to watch 6-5, 300-pound Omari Thomas play for Briarcrest Christian. But I also knew he was the rated as the fourth best high school football player in Tennessee and eighth best defensive tackle nationally.
He had narrowed his college list to Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M, Mississippi and Tennessee. I also knew he was making his college choice this week and he decided to play for the home-state Vols.
After his team rallied to beat Male, Kentucky’s top-ranked team, I asked him about his college choice. He said he knew where he was going and a “family environment and daily competition” were big factors in his pick.
“I waited a little bit to get it right with my decision. It came to me. I put it in God’s hands and I’m glad I got the answer I did,” Thomas said.
He said he was recruited by Kentucky and it “is good for our school to have them come in” recruiting. He said he did pay “some attention” to UK.
What’s the perception of Kentucky football at his school?
“Good team, good athletes. Not big but will have great athletes,” Thomas said.
What about the way Tennessee seems to beat UK every year?
“I do not look a lot at Tennessee beating Kentucky like that. I just know they do it every year it seems,” Thomas said.
He won Mr. Football honors this season and obviously is an elite football prospect. Yet he never considered not playing basketball with friends he’s had since elementary school.
“I want to repeat (as state champion) with my team. We won state last year and I want to be leader as a senior and keep my guys uplifted in or out of games and continue to win games and hopefully win state,” Thomas said. “Basketball also helps me my football. I have been playing basketball my whole life and it really helps my eye-hand coordination and my footwork in football. It’s good for me.”