SAN ANTONIO - Devin Thomas will not be able to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl because he is still rehabilitating his broken right ankle but the San Antonio (Texas) Madison running back was one of the first recruits through the door when players arrived Sunday morning.
"I wanted to play in this game but it didn't work out that way," Thomas said. "It's a great achievement and a great accomplishment. I'm going to have much fun as I can. I'm going to have a ball."
Thomas, a soft verbal commit to Arkansas, finished with 1,447 yards and 17 touchdowns in six games this season. He said he had seven screws and a plate inserted in his ankle and that he has just started to jog on it.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound back said he plans to visit Ole Miss the weekend of Jan. 11 and that Oklahoma State, Kansas, Missouri and TCU are also recruiting him.
Thomas said he has a strong relationship with Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt, who resigned from Arkansas in late November. Chris Vaughn, who recruited Thomas at Arkansas while on Nutt's staff, is now an assistant at Ole Miss.
"When (Nutt) left it was like my coach left because I like coach Nutt," Thomas said. "It's a family basically. When he left after they beat LSU I was shocked. I was like he just beat the No. 1 team. That's crazy.
"When (Bobby) Petrino came in as coach, the situation in Atlanta, I don't know anything about that. Those are rumors and stuff. The only thing is I haven't met him so I can't really say how he is as a person. I just talked to him on the phone and I can't really tell just from that."
Thomas, who originally committed to Arkansas on July 31, finished with 1,891 yards and 23 touchdowns in 10 games his junior year. A visit to Fayetteville is expected for the weekend of Jan. 18 and that is when Thomas and Petrino are expected to meet for the first time. Rivals.com rates Thomas as the 22nd best running back nationally and the No. 42 prospect in the Texas top 100.