EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

October 22, 2013

Prep's Thomas decides against Maryland, will play football for Penn State instead

For a long time Johnny Thomas has known he wanted to play football at Penn State.

The St. John’s Prep senior from Peabody, who is currently rehabbing a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that ended his season during a game last month, had verbally committed to attend the University Maryland last May. But Penn State and the University Wisconsin continued to recruit him heavily, and Thomas told Maryland late Sunday night that he had changed his mind.

In doing so, he told Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien, a former St. John’s Prep player (Class of ‘88), that he would accept his scholarship offer.

“Ever since I started watching football on TV I knew I wanted to play for Penn State,” said Thomas, the reigning Salem News Football Player of the Year who rushed for 762 yards and 7 touchdowns (plus a 107-yard interception return for a TD) in three-plus games this fall. “I am excited and blessed to have this opportunity.

“Coach O’Brien called Coach O (Prep head coach Jim O’Leary) after I rushed for 262 yards against Brockton and said ‘I’d love to get this kid.’ When I watched the Penn State-Michigan game (a 43-40 win in 4 overtimes two Saturdays ago), I thought ‘It can’t get much better than this.’ I want to be a part of it, not just for football but because it’s a great academic school.”

The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Thomas said he made up his mind, but had to tell Maryland he wasn’t coming. It was very difficult, especially since they called St. John’s the Monday after Thomas was hurt against Everett High to say they would honor his scholarship.

“Decommitting is very hard to do,” said Thomas, who rushed for 1,812 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior, when St. John’s Prep won the Division 1 Super Bowl. He also runs the 40-yard dash in under 4.5 seconds. “At the end of the day I’m not living my life for Maryland; I had to do what is best for me.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Local Sports Videos
Sports Videos
McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season Jack White's Cub Face How Emmanuel Mudiay Ended Up in China Sterling says he's not trying to block Clippers sale Selig: MLB 'more popular today than ever' Eli, Giants learning new offense Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Longhorns Coach Disses Texas With Compliment - @TheBuzzeronFOX How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits
Boston Sports
McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child Who will Brady turn to if Gronk can’t stay healthy? Gronkowski cleared to participate in Patriots training camp Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season Shaughnessy: Dont count out the Sox just yet Blakely: Projecting the Celtics roster Daopolous: How will NFL cracking down on Defensive holding affect games? Jack White's Cub Face How Emmanuel Mudiay Ended Up in China Sterling says he's not trying to block Clippers sale Selig: MLB 'more popular today than ever' Eli, Giants learning new offense