Only on campus three months, wide receiver Clevan Thomas received praise all spring from his coaches. Â For Thomas, that was just lip-service. Â He wanted to prove it on the field.
“I actually want to get a touchdown for the first time in Commonwealth. Â I just can’t wait for that,” Thomas told KSR Tuesday. Â 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. Â “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. Â Cornerback Cedrick Dort had an impressive pass deflection following a brutal hit from an offensive lineman at the line of scrimmage. Â Quarterback Danny Clark remainedÂ poised in the pocket while calling the plays. Â Nobody was a better tackler Friday night than Jamin Davis.
“Unbelievable, honestly.” Â Davis was shockedÂ he led the team in tacklesÂ with eight. Â “I couldn’t even believe it truthfully. Â I was like, ‘Man, am I really doing this?’ Â 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. Â 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. Â “Honestly, I don’t even feel like it was my best performance. Â I was just playing football. Â I feel like I could’ve done a lot better.”
Daniel was in Davis’ shoes this time last year as an early enrollee. Â He knows Davis has a bright future ahead of him.
“Jamin’s a great, great young man,” Kash said. Â “He’s a great kid. Â He came in early like I did. Â He’s made strides all through spring. Â 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. Â I think he’s only going to go up. Â 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. Â 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. Â Speaking on behalf of his class, the new No. 18 hadÂ a message for the fans: “Our class is nothing to mess with.”