Three-star defensive end Jhaustin Thomas signed with South Carolina out of Columbia High in Decatur, Ga. as part of the Gamecocks' 2012 class. But when Thomas didn't quality, his journey took him to Trinity Valley C.C. in Texas.
Jhaustin Thomas is back on the Gamecocks' commitement list.
Thomas had hoped to one day have the chance to play for the Gamecocks, even with the JUCO detour, and that's now going to be a possibility. Thomas, and South Carolina, hope the 6-foot-7, 275-pounder can graduate in December and enroll in Columbia in January, but even if he can't, Thomas has a spot at South Carolina.
Thomas is now going back on the commitment list after he had a conversation with South Carolina defensive line coach Deke Adams Tuesday evening.
"I just got off the phone with him a few minutes ago. He was just saying even if I don't make it in December, they still want to take me. I told him that sounded good to me. He asked if I still wanted to be a Gamecock and I told him, 'yeah.'"
Thomas says a number of programs had been in contact but he was always planning to be a Gamecock if it worked out.
"Other schools that were looking at me but they were just waiting to see if I was going to go to South Carolina," Thomas said. "Like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Ole Miss, Arizona State. Some schools like that."
Thomas cited the overall comfort level and chance to play early as reasons for sticking with USC.
"I feel like it's just a great place for me," he said. "I feel like I'll fit right in. I feel like they've got a great coaching staff. Coach Adams told me that (Jadeveon) Clowney would be leaving and he wants me to come in and fill his spot."
When Thomas originally committed to South Carolina, Brad Lawing was the Gamecocks' d-line coach, but he's gotten to know Adams in a hurry.
"He sounds like a real cool, straight up guy," Thomas said. "I just can't wait to get there and play for him."
Thomas missed all but three games of his first season due to a lower back injury he suffered in game-one but tried to play through before shutting it down.
He still believes he's improved in a number of areas.
"My strength, taking on double teams and using my hands more," he lists.
Even though South Carolina will take him in the summer, Thomas is aiming for a January enrollment.
"I've just got to keep working hard," he said "I know it's going to be hard but hopefully I can graduate in December."