WESLEY CHAPEL – Jacob Thomas made the bold decision to get back into the game of football in the eighth grade after four years away from the field. Right now, Thomas’ move has paid off as he enters his senior season and second year as the starting quarterback at Wesley Chapel.
The 6’4″, 190-pounder has tacked on eight pounds since the end of last season and is aiming to get into the 205-210 range before August. Fresh off a college bus tour with his teammates where he visited North Carolina, Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State, he says the coaches there told him he’s on their radar.
Although Thomas hasn’t earned his first offer yet, he has interest from North Dakota State and Florida International.
He tossed 1,825 yards, 17 touchdowns, 13 interceptions 1,825 yards as well as 131 yards and three touchdowns on the ground last season. A JV starter at Land O’ Lakes as a freshman, he sat out his sophomore year due to transfer rules.
“It was good finally play a full season, be the guy and be a starter. There’s nothing better than playing on Friday nights,” Thomas told Prep Sports Scouting. “I felt comfortable because I was anxious and ready to go. It was fun.”
Thomas will be playing for a new head coach in Anthony Egan, a former offensive line coach at River Ridge who was hired in January. Egan takes over for Tico Hernandez, who posted a 4-26 record from 2013-15.
With Egan in the fold, Thomas says things are looking up. The spread offense implemented helps his style of play.
“It’s been good to continue to get to know him. He’s [Egan] a great guy who likes to have fun but is serious. He’s trying to get all these kids to buy into his system. He has the best interest in the team.”
The atmosphere around the team is something completely different, Thomas says.
“The atmosphere is different. In the weight room, on the field, in the hallways. Ever since that spring game, everything feels different and the momentum is building. It looks like we are going to play some smash-mouth football.”
After his freshman season, Thomas said his dad told him that he needs to pursue this further.
“Following that, I took it really serious. Last year, during the third game I realized I could do something special after putting up big numbers through the air. There has been more perspective with college coaches contacting me. It seems real.”
Since the age of 5, Thomas has played baseball. He starts for Wesley Chapel at right field and serves as a relief pitcher. He played football for the first time at age 10 and then made the decision to give the game a shot again after his dad urged him to.
“I fell in love with the game at quarterback and it’s been my life ever since.”
He says baseball has helped him with his athleticism and hand-eye coordination.
In terms of his biggest strengths, Thomas says that is his leadership skills, arm strength and mental toughness. He wants to continue to improve his pre-snap reads and decision-making skills.
Once a week Thomas trains at the Kaleo QB Academy with John Kaleo and company. He started there at the start of last season.
“I love it. He [Kaleo] helps me a lot. The progress that I saw in myself from the beginning of the season towards the end. He really helped me slow the game down and made it easier to process as a quarterback.”
Thomas’ biggest role models are his dad, mom and oldest brother Jordan.
“My brother has helped me so much become the competitor I am. My dad and my mom take me wherever I need to go and help me with anything that I need. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”
As for his ultimate goal, Thomas’ mind is on helping his team make the playoffs. He says his school wants that and his team deserves that. Following that, he wants to be the first person in his family to earn an athletic collegiate scholarship.
“I just want to get that higher education and continue to play the game I love at the next level.”
Thomas may not have the experience that a lot of these high school quarterbacks have, but he has a fantastic sense of leadership that he’s learned from a young age. Playing a team sport for your whole life will do that and baseball is an athletic sport that has progressed his football skills.
Look out for Jacob Thomas this year. He is determined to cut down on his turnovers and get his team back into the playoff conversation. It should be a fun season to watch over at Wesley Chapel with Thomas under center.
Favorite player to watch – Cam Newton, Tom Brady, Jameis Winston
Playlist before games – Pandora playlists (rap and rock)
Favorite movies – The Sandlot, Bench Warmers, The Longest Yard
Favorite TV shows – Big Brother, SportsCenter
Fun fact about you that no one knows – “I’m a pretty good golfer. Last time I went I think I shot about 18 over. I like playing golf.”
Nickname(s) from teammates or friends – “JT”, “J-Tizzle”
Game film: Thomas’ Hudl tape
Photo credit: Tampa Bay Times
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at email@example.com.