Written by Corbett Smith
Coppell's Solomon Thomas, Stanford's newest recruit and a true renaissance man
COPPELL — As friends and teammates filled up half of Coppell’s auditorium — impressive considering that his announcement was broadcast at 7:10 a.m. Wednesday — Coppell defensive end Solomon Thomas found himself getting increasingly nervous.
He was going to have a little fun — ready to pull some props from under the table, thanks to some clandestine workings from his mother, Martha.
But he didn’t exactly know how his interview on ESPN was going to go. He assumed there’d be some small talk with the studio hosts.
“I didn’t know that was going to be the first question they were going to ask, and they went straight to my decision,” Thomas said. “The first question I didn’t hear. I was so nervous.”
In the end, all that mattered was his choice. Thomas, No. 3 on the final SportsDayHS area rankings, picked Stanford over UCLA and Arkansas.
Out from the table came a lavender tree — a reference to Stanford’s unofficial mascot — and black-rimmed glasses taped at the bridge of the nose — a nod to the “Nerd Nation” concept he and other players dreamed up when taking official visits to Palo Alto, Calif.
It was a difficult choice, Thomas said, going back and forth for about a month between Stanford and Arkansas. His sister attends Arkansas, and his girlfriend and other friends will be heading off to Fayetteville.
“And it was just killing me,” Thomas said. “I just had to get on my knees and pray, and also talk with my coaches, my mentors and my family. I really thought this was the best fit for me.”
While Thomas talked glowingly of the Stanford program and coach David Shaw, his parents might have been more excited, and not because of football.
“It’s just an amazing opportunity,” Martha Thomas said. “He’s such a well-rounded person, and you don’t get to see that with many football players. He enjoys learning and enjoys the arts.”
“Oh my God, it’s a dream come true,” Chris Thomas said.
A factor in his decision was the advice of good friend Jacob Logan, a Coppell teammate who died in a drowning accident on Oct. 14, 2012.
“He was the reason that I first checked them out, and I fell in love with them after that,” Thomas said. “Before he passed, he always told me that Stanford was the best of both worlds.”