Fans of high school football are wondering why East St. Louis’ Jeff Thomas is known as the “perfect fit.” At 5’10 weighing a little over 171 pounds he seems to be average in size and while his sub 4.4 speed puts him ahead of most defensive backs, what’s so special about this young talent? Thomas is being considered the number one route runner in the class of 2017. While we know that Thomas’s athletic ability is usually superior to that of his opponents, it’s the details of his gameplay that is making him one of the more sought after recruits in his class. His route running is about as crisp as any high school receiver to date. Sure handedness and a mind for the game is where the “perfect fit” reference comes in. Thomas rarely drops a ball even in traffic and that is key in the college game as defenses are constantly creating traffic with zone blitzes. The mental part is just a statement of his solid confidence as Thomas knows that in order to be a success at his size, he must continually learn the intricacies of defensive coverages as well as player tendencies.
Seems like something that can wait to most players, but it is this exact meticulousness in his approach and resulting gameday success that will follow this budding star into his college career. As the fighting Illini do their best to keep him in state, Florida State and Alabama are working double time to get Thomas into their uniform. After a season that left his East St. Louis team short of a playoff berth, Thomas knows that it is his duty to go into the offseason with the mindset that there is in fact no offseason. Stay tuned.