Bloomington – Ishmael Thomas is the latest player to decide that Indiana is where he wants to call home beginning in the fall of 2010.
The 6'4", 205-pound linebacker from Detroit Renaissance H.S. announced his decision today, picking the Hoosiers over Iowa and Central Michigan. He becomes the 12th member of Indiana's class and one of the more heavily recruited players on the board for Coach Bill Lynch.
While Thomas liked the relationship he'd developed with his recruiting coach George Ricumstrict as well as linebackers coach Mike Yeager, the opportunities IU offered academically were just as important.
"The first thing I liked was academics," said Thomas, who plans to major in business finance. "A couple of weeks ago I went to the Kelley School of Business and talked to a professor and was really impressed. Then I looked at the rankings and it's clearly a very good school."
Thomas, meanwhile, is clearly a very good prospect. He recorded 73 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, two sacks and two interceptions as a junior, and also had scholarship offers from Purdue, Colorado and Vanderbilt.
He plays outside linebacker on his high school team, but the IU coaching staff sees him as a player who can play any of the linebacker spots. On top of that, he could be a contributor early in his career.
"Coach Yeager sees me as an all-around linebacker, someone who gets to the ball wherever it is," Thomas said. "He thinks I'll have an opportunity to play early, someone who could be a three or even four-year starter."
A week ago Thomas had cut his list of finalists to Indiana, Iowa and Central Michigan, and he said his original plan was to wait until August to make a final decision. But the recent family trip to Bloomington won his mother over, and his father came around as well with his son's decision.
"Academics was my number one priority, and I wanted a good combination," Thomas said. "I think I've got that at Indiana."
Detroit Renaissance linebacker Ishmael Thomas cuts his list in half…