Atlas Herrion was an offensive lineman for Alabama in the early 2000s. His alma mater gave him a special message Wednesday. Nick Saban and Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt called to tell him they had a scholarship offer for his son.
Justin Thomas, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end from Spanish Fort (Ala.) High School, was on his way to basketball practice when his father phoned him.
The reigning national champions want him to be a part of next year’s signing class.
“It means a lot to pick up an offer from Alabama,” Thomas told SEC Country. “It’s an in-state college and it’s my dad’s alma mater. It means so much to me to have them give me a chance.”
At this point in his recruitment, Alabama is his only big-time offer. The three other schools that have offered Thomas include: South Alabama, Alabama-Birmingham and Iowa State.
Thomas still can’t believe the fact that the Crimson Tide were the first college football program in the Southeastern Conference to give him a chance.
“I never thought that Alabama was going to be the first SEC school to offer me,” he said. “I didn’t think that was going to happen. Maybe they decided to offer because I’m in state. It just means a lot to me.”
Perhaps Alabama offered him because of his production in his junior year. Thomas finished with 55 tackles and 11 sacks. Or the Crimson Tide could have offered because his father did end up playing in the NFL for a short while before joining the Arena Football League. Thomas’ father has played a big role in his son’s recruitment, but he isn’t pushing him to attend the school he did 15 years ago.
“It doesn’t really weigh on my mind,” Thomas said when asked if playing at his father’s alma mater will be a deciding factor in his decision. “It’s my decision on which school I want to go to.
“(My father) has been helping me a lot. He just tells me to enjoy the ride and to stay humble because there are a lot more offers coming.”
Two schools Thomas is hoping to hear from are Florida and Auburn. But credit goes to Alabama for getting in the mix this early because his recruitment is about to pick up.
Crimson Tide fans will know shortly after his senior season if Thomas chooses to follow in his father’s footsteps, as that’s when he’s planning on announcing his decision.