The Texas Longhorns appear to be in strong position to land USC Trojans graduate transfer quarterback Max Wittek, but that didn't stop the staff from reaching out recently to Georgia Military College dual-threat passer Pat Thomas.
In other words, it looks like there is a possibility that play caller and quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson could bring in two more quarterbacks this fall after neither sophomore Tyrone Swoopes nor senior Miles Onyegbule looked capable of running the team this fall based on their respective performances in the spring game after combining for three interceptions and taking eight sacks.
A two-star prospect by 247Sports, Thomas is a 6'4, 185-pounder ranked as the No. 3 junior college dual-threat quarterback, the No. 13 junior college player in the state of Georgia, and No. 238 among all prospects in junior college. The fact that he could rank so highly among players at his position and so low overall illustrates just how thin this junior college quarterback class is in 2014.
And Thomas wasn't even supposed to be on the market this long. He signed with UAB in December after committing several days before, but was released from his letter of intent after a coaching change. After redshirting his first season at GMC, he has three years to use his remaining three seasons of eligibility.
He currently holds offers from South Alabama and Troy and is looking to pick one up from Louisville after taking an official visit to the school last weekend. He told Orangebloods.com that the Cardinals are his top school right now and that the Horns would need to move quickly with him if the interest is sincere.
However, if Louisville is slow to extend an offer, that could lengthen the timetable, which obviously has a drop-dead date of early June when the first summer session starts.
Statistically, Thomas threw 17 touchdown passes compared to six interceptions, with an interception rate of 2.9%, a little bit on the high side, but nothing that merits a ton of red flags. His completion percentage of just over 53 suggests some problems with accuracy at times, but his overall yards per attempt of 8.2 is a good number.
On film, it's a bit hard to see why Thomas isn't ranked as a three-star prospect, as his delivery is quick and his mechanics don't appear to have any glaring, obvious flaws. With a whippy delivery, there's some nice zip from Thomas on slant routes over the middle and he also demonstrates the ball placement to make sure his receivers are the only ones with a chance to catch the ball, throwing a back-shoulder pass on one play and another ball down the sideline to a leaping receiver in tight coverage.
Additionally, he consistently shows the ability to throw touch passes down the seam over defenders -- his mechanics aren't flat like Swoopes, so he can alter his trajectory when necessary.
At the college level, he may have to increase his level of concern for linebackers undercutting some of the inside breaking routes he manages to fit into fairly small windows at Georgia Military College. If he's not quite reckless at times, he is certainly confident in his arm strength and accuracy.
There also doesn't appear to be a high level of sophistication in his ability to go through his reads -- he typically knows where he's going before the snap and doesn't move defenders with his eyes or hit his second or third progression often.
As a runner, Thomas gained less than 200 yards on the ground last season and it doesn't appear that the zone read game was a big part of the offense, but he does throw well on the run and has a nice burst when he keeps the ball. Extremely lanky at 185 pounds, he's not going to be breaking many tackles at the next level.
The fact that he redshirted a season is both a positive and a negative -- it kept him from gaining the game reps that would have him further along on his developmental trajectory had he played in 2012, but it also preserved another season of eligibility that makes him a more valuable recruit because he does have three seasons left.
Is there a chance that the interest in Thomas is a sign that the coaches are worried about Wittek choosing another school or failing to graduate? At this point, it seems like the bigger concern is making sure that there are multiple healthy quarterbacks on campus who are capable of playing this fall.
The offer list and rankings of Thomas may put that into question, but he does look further along than Swoopes mechanically and has enough athleticism to make some plays in the running game and on the move, so it may be worth the risk if something happens with Wittek or the staff feels like Thomas is a necessity even with Wittek.