Ricky Smithers can't say enough about Nick Thomason.
The head coach at Boonesville (Miss.) Northeast Mississippi describes his standout linebacker as a smaller verion Brian Urlacher, the star middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears. Like Urlacher, Smithers said Thomason is fast, aggressive and loves to hit. The problem, however, is that Thomason is significantly smaller.
Urlacher is listed at 6-foot-4 and 258 pounds. Thomason is listed at 6-1 and 230 pounds, which may be a little generous.
Nevertheless, Thomason's size -- or lack thereof -- hasn't scared away college football recruiters. Thomason has scholarship offers from Louisiana Tech, Troy, South Alabama, Western Kentucky, Memphis, Alabama A&M and Alabama-Birmingham.
Thomason, who will have three years of eligibility to play two season after he leaves Northeast, said his ultra-aggressive style of play began when he was in 10th grade. When asked where it came from, he said, "I have no clue. I just love the game. I like hitting people and flying around the ball ... I always played but I wasn't hard-hitting til then."
Thomason is keeping all of his suitors on an even plane as he evaluates his options. Still, he is holding out hope for an SEC offer.
"It would be awesome," Thomason said. "That's what my dream has always been but if I don't get it, I'll be good wherever I'm at."
Auburn and Tennessee have shown interest, but one school has always held a certain appeal for the native from Muscle Shoals, Ala. Understandably, it's his home state team, Alabama, that would very much fit Thomason's style.
"They're an aggressive team," Thomason said. "Hard-nosed football, that's what I like."
That's what Smithers likes as well.