Getting to Know our New Recruits: QB Justin Thomas

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Our recruiting practices may get criticized at times, but boy can they pay off.

So this past week was finals week, meaning there wasn't a whole lot of time for things that didn't involve studying or contemplating just how badly the professor planned on academically abusing us. Unfortunately I couldn't get this up earlier, but here's a piece on Justin Thomas, a 4-star recruit we nabbed Tuesday night.

QB Justin Thomas had been committed to Alabama for almost a year when he received news from Nick Saban that they had signed another QB in the class, and that Thomas was likely not going to get a shot at QB in the system they run. However, they were really hoping to keep him on as a WR/DB (this kid runs a 40 yard dash in 4.3 seconds, something you'll really notice in the video below). Unfortunately for them, Thomas never had any desire to play anything BUT QB at the college level. Having communicated that from the start, he told Nick Saban that having no shot at QB was a dealbreaker, and thanks but no thanks.

All the time he had been committed to Alabama, Thomas had kept in touch with coaches at Tech, on a "just in case" basis. Well, "just in case" happened, and next thing you know, we have a kid who's going to be a perfect fit for our system wanting to come and don the White and Gold. So who is Justin Thomas?

Thomas is 5'11", 175 lbs, which is a little small for a college athlete, but at the same time it's reasonable to expect he could put on 10-15lbs at Tech to bulk up a little if that's what the coaches wanted. He's from Prattville High School in Prattville, AL (other Tech players from Alabama include Tevin Washington, Orwin Smith, and TJ Barnes). As previously stated, he consistently runs a 4.3 - 40 yard dash. For reference, Calvin Johnson ran a 4.35 at the NFL combine (with almost no preparation, in someone else's shoes, mind you). I'll post the recruiting video below, but from watching that, his speed really is impressive. This kid gives DBs a 6 yard head start and just FLIES past them. He'll be a top-5 speed guy at the NFL combine in a few years if he makes it that far. No reason to think he couldn't be below 4.3 by then which would certainly wow some people.

He seems a lot like the few QBs we've seen under Johnson where throwing is not his strong suit (some passes seemed a little off-target even though receivers adjusted), but he does seem comfortable with it and has a strong arm at the very least. The biggest part of the guy is his running ability though. He ran a spread-option offense in high school (Auburn- or Florida-like....or I guess now Denver Broncos-like) so he has experience reading a defense and making quick decisions. He really just is a spectacle once he has the ball though. Fantastic vision, accelerates very quickly and reaches a high top speed very soon after he starts moving.

Now Tech's recruiting class has 2 solid QB prospects, the other being Dennis Andrews, who we had a piece on late last week. It's going to be real interesting seeing how the situation for the both of them plays out. Who will outcompete the other? Are they willing to redshirt? Will they both end up on the QB depth chart, or will the competition's loser have to move to another position? What if Vad Lee wins 3 Heismans in a row and they never see the field until they're seniors? Time will tell, but one thing's for sure: it's great seeing guys with this much talent wanting to come and play on The Flats again.

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