Aug 13, 2013
By Jon Cooper
Of course, a running race is ideal for the 5-11, 179-pound redshirt freshman speed merchant from Prattville, Ala., as not many Yellow Jackets — and certainly no quarterback candidates — can motor like he can.
In 2011, there may not have been a more complete package of accurate passing and blazing speed in the state of Alabama, or the nation for that matter, than Thomas, who as a senior, led Prattville High School to the 6A State Championship, accounting for 2,500 yards and 20 touchdowns. He saved the best for last, as the Lions went 5-0 in postseason, scoring 37 points a game, led by Thomas, who completed 73 percent of his throws.
In the title game, played at Bryant-Denny Stadium, in Tuscaloosa, he ran — and threw — wild, rolling up 304 yards of total offense (151 passing on 13-of-20, with a touchdown, 153 rushing with two more scores) in the 35-34 victory. He was clear choice for game MVP, after bringing the Lions back from a 28-14 third-quarter deficit.
His superb leadership and production led to recruitment from such powers as LSU, Florida State and, of course, Alabama, to which he committed. All sought his services … provided he play anything BUT quarterback.
Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Johnson recruited him as a quarterback, and Thomas found Atlanta and the Spread Option to his liking. After redshirting as a freshman, he came into camp with an extra spring to his step and eyes on the starting QB job.
Sting Daily recently slowed Thomas down long enough to talk with him about a number of topics, including his relationship with his Lee, the incumbent and primary competitor in running the offense, and the Yellow Jacket teammate who has become his nemesis in running.
Thomas Significant Facts:
2 – His rank in total offense in the state of Alabama in 2011
4 – His rank in passing in the state in 2011
4.21 – His time in the 40
10.79: His State-winning time in the 4A-6A 100 meters as a senior
FIRST DOWN: You’re making a case for playing time at quarterback this season. How would you describe your relationship with Vad?
Justin Thomas: There’s no beef between us even though we’re competing for the same position. We tell each other what we see and what we don’t see. There’s nothing going on. It’s like good friends. We’re out there competing, trying to do the best we can to help the team.
SECOND DOWN: Do you feel comfortable correcting him when you see something?
JT: I feel like we both do. We’re both comfortable correcting each other if we have to. It’s all for the team, trying to make the team the best we can. Things are going pretty well. We progress each day. As long as you’re not going down you’re moving in the right direction.
THIRD DOWN: You were Alabama high school state champion in the 100-meters in high school. Have you and B-Back — school 60-meter record-holder — Broderick Snoddy raced?
JT: We did, actually, the first week I was here. He got me. We haven’t had one since then.
FOURTH DOWN: Will there be a rematch?
JT: I think we’re going to let that rest (laughs).
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