InsideNebraska - DT Thomas 'big time excited' about committing to Nebraska
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DT Thomas 'big time excited' about committing to Nebraska

When he was hired as Nebraska's new defensive line coach, there were questions in some quarters whether or not John Parrella would be able to cut it on the recruiting trail at his alma mater. But in the weeks following his return to Lincoln those concerns have been mostly alleviated.

Further evidence of the effectiveness of Coach Parrella on the recruiting trail came today in the form of the first commitment he landed as an NU coach when defensive lineman Deontre Thomas announced his decision to play for the Cornhuskers.

The Mustang, Oklahoma product said that Coach Parrella was instrumental to him choosing Nebraska over his other finalist Michigan, and scholarship offers from the likes of Texas A&M, Arizona State, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Kansas State.

“Yeah, it will be Nebraska,” Thomas confirmed to about his college destination. “The connection I have with Coach John Parrella... he's great. I talk with him every day. He talks with my family, -- my mom and my dad talk to him. He's a great guy. He talks to my coaches. We all like him and he has a lot of experience.”

The 6-foot-2 & 1/2, 260-pound Thomas first had contact with Coach Parrella about a month ago and they immediately clicked, but it was their face to face meeting at the Red-White spring game that sealed their relationship and secured his pledge to NU.

“It was just everything with him,” Thomas said of Coach Parrella. “His personality is great. I don't even know how to tell you.”

There were a host of other reasons that Thomas chose to become a Husker in college instead of a Wolverine.

“Well, of course, there were a lot of reasons,” Thomas explained. “Michigan and Nebraska are pretty similar, as I told you before, but I don't know… I just fell in love with Nebraska. With their facilities, the football field, their fans, their coaches, the weather, everything man.

“Not only that, the Big Ten is big for me. I'm all about stopping the run because that's what it's about. I don't know, the Big Ten fits me and Nebraska is a nice place. I could play early there. They are number one in academics. It's just a lot of stuff.”

Mustang High begins their spring practice on May 15 and Thomas is looking to improve in certain areas.

“I just want to improve in all of my areas: my motor, my explosiveness, and just kind of improve on everything,” Thomas said. “Get bigger, stronger and faster.

“My strengths are my speed, my explosiveness, and the use of my hands. I'm a student of the game. I know how to read blocks and formations, and I do my homework on teams. I'm not sure how much, but I know that I'm going to grow more and get bigger. I will maybe eventually play around 290-295 [pounds].”

Previous Class of 2017 Nebraska commitments Keyshawn Johnson Jr. and Avery Roberts were recruiting Thomas leading up to his decision, so now he plans to join them in persuading more top players to become future Huskers.

But most of all, Thomas is very happy to have his college future planned out at a place he knows that he fits in and feels at home.

“It's great!” Thomas shared. “I feel good. I prayed a lot about it and God told me my decision. Oh yeah, I am excited. Big time! They blew me away when I visited.”