Jayden Thomas has made his way around the camp circuit over the last few weeks. Having seen him in action, he should no longer be seen as a potential next big thing coming out of Pace Academy.
That time is now. Thomas is clearly a big thing right now at Pace Academy.
The 6-foot-1, 198-pound rising junior has easily been one of the top 10 receivers in action along back-to-back appearances at the Atlanta Opening regional and the Under Armour Atlanta regional this past Sunday. That’s in any class.
Thomas also delivered the 11th-best Opening football rating at the 2019 Atlanta regional. That is very good considering the 2020 athletes on hand at that camp.
Those numbers came in like this:
- 40-yard dash: 4.63 (Laser)
- Vertical jump: 33.6 inches
- Powerball toss: 44.5 feet (The record is believed to be 47 feet.)
- Pro agility shuttle: 4.21 seconds
Thomas also caught 42 passes for 696 yards for Pace last fall. Those totals meant an average gain of 16.6 yards per catch. Those big plays led to five touchdowns.
His recruiting ranking history seems to slight him just a bit. He has zero stars and yet Thomas picked up the following offers between June and November of 2018: North Carolina, Michigan, Virginia, Ohio State and Georgia.
Thomas also receives elite training and positional development from former Georgia all-time great Terrence Edwards. Edwards is his position coach at Pace Academy and also trains Thomas along with a number of other prospects from the state of Georgia and the Southeast.
His athletic prowess will even carry over to the diamond. The two tweeted clips below from his sophomore year at Pace prove the following to be true: Thomas is the rare athlete who catches bombs in the fall and slugs them in the spring and summer, too.
— ﾌㄒ (@jgpt333) February 24, 2019
— ﾌㄒ (@jgpt333) March 31, 2019
Thomas showed great ball skills, hustle, easy separation and a clear toughness in back-to-back weeks at those camps. There was one moment where he went hard to the ground and remained there for about 20 seconds.
He quickly uprighted himself and went about his business at the camp during 1-on-1 drills.
That Opening rating also places him among the top 35 prospects nationally who have tested so far through eight regionals.
Jayden Thomas really likes Ohio State and UGA at this time
Thomas felt he didn’t show his best effort with his vertical jump number, but he was pleased with that laser 40-yard dash time. That’s because he really has not been training for the 40 testing because of his baseball season.
The Pace Academy has noted Thomas as one to watch for a while now. This spring was the first time where I saw the ability mesh up with the offers and the potential and his size, speed and length.
“I see that I am just getting bigger,” Thomas said, who is up about 10 pounds from his playing weight last fall. “Bigger, stronger and faster. Definitely, the weight room is helping me out. I’ve just noticed over time that I’ve gotten way faster and bigger. It is also helping me on the field.”
He felt his recruiting journey was not quite at the halfway mark but noted Georgia and Ohio State were two schools that were standing out in his mind at this time.
“I love Georgia,” he said. “The atmosphere feels just like home. The coaches are nice. Coach [Cortez] Hankton and coach [Kirby] Smart are really nice. I really love them.”
Ask him about the Buckeyes. He’ll say pretty much the same.
“I love them, too,” he said. “You know coach [Ryan] Day came and visited me. The wide receivers coach did let me know they are still here for me. Yeah, a home feel, too.”
How does he compare the feeling at UGA to what he knows about Ohio State?
“It is kind of a different flavor,” he said. “I don’t know. They kind of both feel like home but there is just a difference. I like both of them right now. Definitely love both of the flavors.”
He has visited Ohio State. He saw a lot he liked about the business programs at Ohio State and Michigan when he saw those schools. Thomas aspires to major in business in college.
Georgia and Ohio State both clearly recruit him the hardest right now. He said he loves the atmosphere at Ohio State, but that Athens feels like home.
— ﾌㄒ (@jgpt333) January 27, 2019
Pace Academy has sent several Bulldogs to Kirby Smart’s team of late. That would be a pair of elite offensive linemen in sophomore Jamaree Salyer and junior Andrew Thomas. Junior receiver Trey Blount also made his way from Chris Slade’s program to UGA.
“Everybody says it is home and it feels that way,” he said.
He plans to visit both Clemson and Virginia this summer. Those trips are already scheduled.
One of the very best things to file away about Jayden Thomas
The Georgia native did not grow up a UGA fan. But his reasoning for growing up a Virginia Tech fan makes perfect sense.
“My grandpa went there,” he said. “First black quarterback there. We’ve never really liked Georgia until now. I’ve really started to fall in love with Georgia.”
That trail his grandfather blazed inspires him.
“He just gives me everything to know that no matter what I can do anything I want to succeed in life,” Thomas said.
I’m personally adding a “character, work ethic, and academics: 💯 percentile “ for this young man.
— Clement Rouviere (@Coach_Rico7) March 26, 2019
Thomas said he doesn’t have a clear timeline in mind at this time. That’s very logical there.
What is he looking for?
“Definitely that home vibe,” he said. “Definitely. The coaching staff making me feel like I am home and being able to support me whenever I need them, too.”
He also shared a strong endorsement for what Edwards has meant to his development. How much does the former Georgia receiver help him get better?
“A lot,” Thomas said. “Everything I do is from him. The best trainer in the world definitely. [He is] getting me right.”