When you talk about the top athletes in the small school levels of the WPIAL, the Pittsburgh…
It's Official: Pitt Is It For Thomas
"The cat's sort of out of the bag now, so I can confirm that Todd committed to Pitt,'' Matsook said Friday morning. "I told him that it didn't matter to me where he went to school, and it shouldn't matter what anyone else thought. It's all about where he felt the most comfortable, and for Todd and his mother that was at Pitt.''
Panthers assistant head coach Greg Gattuso recruits Western Pennsylvania for Pitt, and he ventured into Beaver County as much as possible to see Thomas the past few years. He quickly developed a strong relationship with the player and his family, and that clearly paid off in the end.
"Greg and Pitt have been great with Todd from the very beginning, and they established a trust with Todd and his mom that they were going to lead him in the right direction,'' Matsook said. "Especially with them waiting on his SAT score. I don't know if a lot of schools would do that.
"But Pitt has always said that they back him 100 percent and would do anything they could to help him out. So, that's important. It goes a long with with parents. There's a lot of good coaches out there, but Pitt really made an impression on Todd and his mom. That was very important.''
Matsook described Thomas as a flamboyant kid, one with a great personality, but the whole recruiting situation made him wary. It just takes a while to get to know him and understand him.
"I've seen Todd with people who rub him the wrong way, and I've seen people who get along with him,'' Matsook said. "And when Greg came in here, he and Todd just hit it off. Greg was my college coach (at Duquesne), and he's a great guy. When he comes into a kid's living room, moms love him, and dads love him. So, I think that's the kind of guy who Todd gets along with.
"And Coach Wannstedt, Coach LaSala, Western Pa. guys, blue-collar people. They aren't too flashy, coming in here flashing a lot of rings and things like that. They're honest with a kid and tell it like it is, and I believe that goes a long way. I'm sure that made a strong impact on Todd. He trusts them.''
The nearly 6-foot-3 and 205-pound Thomas primarily is a running back for Beaver Falls, which is 7-0 and ranked second in Class AA, but he also doubles as a receiver and is projected as a wideout in college.
After rushing for nearly 1,300 yards as a junior last season, Thomas has 59 carries for 455 yards and 13 catches for 148 yards this year. He also has 14 touchdowns and is a stalwart on defense and special teams.
Thomas has the grades to qualify at Pitt, but must still get a qualifying SAT score. That's the only holdup right now.
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