Ole Miss is in the final six for five-star running back, Racean Thomas (Oxford, Al. Oxford) who announced his finalists in his recruitment via Twitter on Wednesday, but the Rebels should brace themselves for a battle with their SEC brethren to secure a commitment.
The SEC quartet of LSU, Auburn, Alabama and Georgia along with Oregon round out the top six for Thomas, who 247Sports.com composite rankings have as the No. four running back in the class of 2014. The Rebels signed four running backs that were rated as four-stars including Kailo Moore who is built similarly to Thomas, but there is always room for another five-star recruit on Hugh Freeze’s team.
How would he fit with the other finalists?
Alabama signed a number of running backs in last year’s class, so I don’t think Thomas will be thrilled to look at the depth chart and see how many guys are ahead of him. LSU is hoping to get No. 1 running back, Leonard Fournette so Thomas may be more of a backup plan, and Georgia is a favorite to land Sony Michel who is a top three back this year. I’m excluding each of them if playing time is his primary factor.
That leaves Oregon who signed Thomas Tyner this winter who was the No. 6 back in the country and could be entering in to the Joe Mixon recruitment–another five-star back. Auburn signed two four-star backs this winter, but one is a junior college transfer, and I think Thomas and Peyton Barber would form a great duo in Gus Malzahn’s offense.
At 5-11 and 196-pounds, Thomas runs much harder than his frame would suggest and has the ability to run through tackles on the second and third level of the defense. He figures to bulk up to over 200-pounds by the time his senior year starts and could enter college in the 210-pound range, which would only add to the power in his game.
Thomas is not a one-dimensional runner, however, and is a big play waiting to happen when he gets the ball in his hands as a ball carrier or as a receiver out of the backfield. He has the ability to find the tiniest crease or hole and turn take it to the end zone because of his incredible burst, agility and body control.
The race is down to six, but in my opinion it’s going to be a two-team race between the Rebels and Auburn for the second team All-American who is coming off a junior season where he ran for 1,708 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Over the past year not many have been able to get the best of Freeze in a recruiting battle, so this figures to be an exciting chase.