Only on campus three months, wide receiver Clevan Thomas received praise all spring from his coaches. For Thomas, that was just lip-service. He wanted to prove it on the field.
“I actually want to get a touchdown for the first time in Commonwealth. I just can’t wait for that,” Thomas told KSR Tuesday. He didn’t have to wait long.
With 35 seconds remaining in the first half, Thomas caught a wide open seven yard touchdown pass from Gunnar Hoak in the back of the end zone.
“When I got into the end zone I thought, ‘There’s got to be a penalty or something,'” Thomas joked after the game. “Then when I noticed I was in the end zone, I just took a knee and thanked God, cause without him I wouldn’t be here.”
With 3 receptions for 28 yards, Thomas is one of four early enrollees who played exceptionally well in their Commonwealth Stadium debut. Cornerback Cedrick Dort had an impressive pass deflection following a brutal hit from an offensive lineman at the line of scrimmage. Quarterback Danny Clark remained poised in the pocket while calling the plays. Nobody was a better tackler Friday night than Jamin Davis.
“Unbelievable, honestly.” Davis was shocked he led the team in tackles with eight. “I couldn’t even believe it truthfully. I was like, ‘Man, am I really doing this?’ It was crazy.”
Playing alongside Kash Daniel for the White Team, it felt like Davis was there to make a play every time the starters in blue ran the ball. It was impressive to see it for the first time, but he said he’s done much better.
“I feel like it’s just the start,” Davis said. “Honestly, I don’t even feel like it was my best performance. I was just playing football. I feel like I could’ve done a lot better.”
Daniel was in Davis’ shoes this time last year as an early enrollee. He knows Davis has a bright future ahead of him.
“Jamin’s a great, great young man,” Kash said. “He’s a great kid. He came in early like I did. He’s made strides all through spring. He’s still got some things to fix, like we all do, but I think Jamin really bought in to what we’re trying to do here. I think he’s only going to go up. There’s no going back for him.”
There were plenty of other young players who excelled in their first game under Commonwealth’s bright lights: Jamar “Boogie” Watson, Justin Rigg, Kayaune Ross and A.J. Rose to name a few. Their early success is reassuring, proving they can compete in the SEC.
For the early enrollees, it gives them the confidence to take the next step during the offseason. Speaking on behalf of his class, the new No. 18 had a message for the fans: “Our class is nothing to mess with.”