The offers for the Texas Longhorns have been coming out steadily since head coach Charlie Strong took over and the latest is to Fort Worth (Texas) Southwest linebacker Semaj Thomas, according to multiple reports on Tuesday.
Committed to the TCU Horned Frogs since a Junior Day in late January, Thomas is a 6'0, 231-pounder rated as a consensus three-star prospect. He's considered the No. 22 inside linebacker and the No. 75 player in the state of Texas.
At this time, his only other offer is from Oklahoma and he may be locked in to his commitment to TCU, as he told Scout at the time of his pledge that it was a "dream come true" to commit to the Horned Frogs, as it had been a goal of his since his freshman year of high school.
In fact, the TCU Scout publisher believes that the offer won't change anything for Thomas:
#TCU fans shouldn't worry about Semaj Thomas receiving #Texas offer.— Jeremy Clark (@JClarkHFB) June 3, 2014
The Longhorns have been in some contact with Thomas in the past, as he said at the Dallas NFTC that he had been receiving some interest -- this recruitment is not one that just began with the offer.
Undersized for a middle linebacker position at 6'0, Thomas is a former defensive end for Southwest who made the move to linebacker as a junior, but is a good athlete as evidenced by his 34.4-inch vertical at the Dallas Nike event.
Likely because of his experience at defensive end, he's better using his hands to disengage from blocks than most linebackers, a critical skill for someone of his height. And he does have good range -- the Horned Frogs demand that with the 4-2-5 scheme employed by head coach Gary Patterson, which doesn't use a true middle linebacker.
The question is whether that skill can translate to the college game, where the level of athlete he will be facing will increase significantly. If Patterson, Strong, and Bob Stoops think that he can, then it's tough to argue with them.
There's also some evidence that he can turn, open up, and take the correct angle to keep running backs from taking the edge on him, something that Patterson surely noticed as important for his defensive scheme.
And as a striker, Thomas is a good one, using his mass and low center of gravity to get under the pads of opposing players and drop them quickly, though he isn't always the most sound tackler technically.
The question now is whether the Horns have a shot of landing his services. Skepticism there from the Horned Frog side is understandable, but the fact that he's from Fort Worth and has wanted to play at TCU for some time doesn't bode well for Texas. But hey, there's still a long time between now and National Signing Day.