Lakota West’s Thomas shows stuff at Ohio State recruiting camp

COLUMBUS — Cam Thomas said his trip to Ohio State for a recruiting camp Thursday went well.

Not that it couldn’t have gone better for the Lakota West linebacker.

He did not walk away with a coveted scholarship offer, at least not immediately.

“I think I did really good,” he said. “I felt loose, explosive, all that. I think I coulda done a little better on some of the drills, but I did pretty good.”

Ohio State linebackers coach James Laurinaitis led Thomas’ group, which included players from across the state and beyond hoping to show what they can do.

“It’s cool you can see where you stack up, see what you need to do better, help other people and stuff,” Thomas said. “It’s good working with them.”

The 6-foot, 210-pound Thomas was careful not to come across ungrateful, but the frustration was evident — and understandable for anyone who has had something they want seem so close but yet not arrive.

“Um, I think I deserve getting that offer by now,” he said. “I hope I showed ‘em what I could do. I just hope that they continue working on me and stuff.”

Once upon a time, a player with Thomas’ profile likely would have been almost an automatic offer.

He is considered among the top 10 prospects in the Ohio for the class of 2026 according to 247Sports, and Power 4 such as Louisville, Kentucky, Duke, Cincinnati and Michigan already have come through with offers for Thomas.

But Ohio State has gone from signing an average of more 12 in-state recruits per year when Jim Tressel was head coach (2001-10) to just under 10 under Urban Meyer and only 6.6 since Ryan Day replaced Meyer in 2019, so getting that offer has never been more difficult as the staff works to maximize each scholarship to build a national championship roster.

The good news for Thomas is he is in no hurry to pick a school.

As a rising junior, he has no need to be, and that is especially true for a player already possessing more than a dozen offers.

“As you go from sophomore, junior, senior you start to see more things as you go on visits,” He said. “And coaches tell you more stuff as well, so I’m just trying to find wherever I’ll have the best opportunity to develop and grow. The best opportunity for my family as well.”

Thomas was a second-team All-GMC pick last season when he made 32 tackles, including 5.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

He recently visited Notre Dame and said trips to Oregon and Alabama are also on tap before wrapping up recruiting for the summer.

He identified Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Kentucky, Illinois and Virginia Tech as the schools standing out to him at this point in the recruiting process.

“I hear all the time I’ll never be this wanted again in my life, so I’m just enjoying the process,” he said. “It’s cool coming to all these places anyway. I mean, I’m having fun with it of course.”

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