Running back Tavion Thomas, a 3-star running back, announced his de-commitment from the Oklahoma Sooners on Monday. Thomas, who attends Dayton (Ohio) Dunbar High School, committed to Oklahoma in June 2017 over offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Wisconsin, and a slew of other programs.
As first reported by 247Sports’ Bill Kurelic and confirmed by Land of 10, Thomas’ decision to de-commit from Oklahoma comes on the heels of a quiet Sunday visit to Ohio State by the in-state standout.
Hardest decision ever . pic.twitter.com/UsOi3cRTI5
— lackofworries🎈🎈 (@tavionthomas937) January 29, 2018
“[Thomas] was up at Ohio State with his aunt and uncle, myself, and one of our other coaches,” said Dunbar coach Darran Powell.
Ohio State pursued Thomas early in his recruitment, offering the bruising tailback (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) from southwest Ohio on Feb. 18, 2017, shortly after Thomas had been offered by SEC powerhouses Alabama and Georgia and Big Ten rivals Michigan State and Wisconsin. The renewal of contact between the Buckeyes and Thomas comes as somewhat of a surprise, as the relationship between Thomas and Ohio State had been dormant for several months.
Thomas is expected to take an official visit to Ohio State this weekend.
“I’ll be heading up there on Saturday night for my official visit after my game,” Thomas said, referring to Dunbar’s scheduled basketball game against Trotwood-Madison.
It has been a trend for Ohio State to accept commitments from in-state prospects who make official visits late in the process. Should Thomas make the official visit, it would strongly point toward the Dunbar star preparing for a career at Ohio State. Sources close to Ohio State have expressed concerns in the past about Thomas qualifying academically, but I’m told that Thomas has resolved those concerns and is expected to pass through the NCAA clearinghouse.
Should Thomas ultimately commit to the Buckeyes, he would join already signed 4-star running backs Master Teague and Brian Snead in the backfield. Teague is on campus as an early enrollee. Additionally, Ohio State holds a commitment from Westerville (Ohio) South athlete Jaelen Gill, an Army All-American who’s expected to play the H-back role at Ohio State that primarily functions as a wide receiver, but also involves rushing elements.
Looking ahead to the 2018 season, Ohio State is expected to return multiple scholarship running backs. Ohio State’s two starting tailbacks from the 2017 campaign — redshirt junior running back Mike Weber and sophomore JK Dobbins — will be back. Antonio Williams, a junior, will be back as a running back and DeMario McCall (either a redshirt sophomore or junior depending on the status of his medical redshirt application) will return as an H-back with previous running back experience.
It looks to be a crowded running back room and the decision to pursue a path to add Thomas to the roster is surprisingly. Despite returning nearly all of their playmakers and skill-position standouts from 2017, Ohio State is bringing in a robust recruiting class that could include as many as seven scholarship skill players if they land Thomas. Still, the talented big man may be viewed as too good to let out of Ohio. Thomas is a bruiser with the skill to grow into a dangerous and complete threat under the tutelage of Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford.