If you are trying to familiarize yourself with some of the top young recruits for the class of 2021 in the state of Georgia, then you should really look no further than Jayden Thomas. The Pace Academy wide receiver is a highlight play waiting to happen, and is already a top 25 ranked player on our website for the class of 2021. If you take a minute to watch his early varsity film, you will quickly understand why Thomas is so lauded.
Thomas has that innate ability to play the football where at the last moment he creates extra separation to make the catch. His elite ability to gauge the football and timing his jump is special, especially when you take into account his 6’2″ 200 lbs. frame. It’s even more impressive to see an athlete that big, at such a young age, show the body control that Thomas displays on a consistent basis.
Pace Academy assistant coach and former NFL player Justin Miller speaks just as highly about Thomas. “Jayden is probably one of the most gifted HS athletes I’ve seen in a long time. He can truly play any position on the field if he puts his mind to it. He’s one of those dream kids to coach. The sky is the limit for this kid and I’m truly blessed to have the opportunity to coach him,” Miller said.
No doubt, Thomas is an elite athlete and a signature part to his game is making unbelievably tough catches, and last week against New Manchester to open the season was no exception. Just inside the redzone at the 19-yard line, Pace Academy quarterback Jared Rayman stepped back and lofted a pass to the corner of the endzone. Thomas went springing after the football with a defender draped all over him, and then at the last moment reached out his right arm to make an elite one-handed catch for a score.
It was an amazing play, and deservedly Thomas walked away with the Play of the Week honors with over 11,000 votes in less than 24 hours. What a way to start off the season, but for Thomas, he has more business to take care of.
“I want to win every CB matchup I face and go deep in playoffs this year,” Thomas said. When asked about where he has improve the most, Thomas replied, “I think over the last year I have improved on my route running more than anything.”
The rest of his New Manchester game film showed him roasting the defensive backs on intermediate routes, then dragging defenders after the catch for additional yardage. Being cross trained as a safety over the last year seems to have improved his ability to read a defense, but overall, Thomas is more concise with his footwork, getting in and out of his breaks much quicker than his freshman season.
At this point in his very-very young recruitment, the Pace Academy athlete already holds offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Virginia and UNC. And to no real surprise, he already has been invited by each school to go visit this fall. “I have been invited to games at UNC, OSU, Michigan & UVA – hopefully I am able to visit all of them with my fall schedule.”
Thomas loves the sport of football, and is very serious about about his future development. At this point, it is a year-round sport for Thomas, and even after the season he is training with coach Miller at the STACK Gym in Buckhead or lining up for his 7v7 Hustle Inc. team; no matter what, there is little rest for the young athlete. Thomas manages good grades still, and after his freshman season he earned the Knight Award (best work ethic in weight room) and Rising Star award.
Expectations are high for the exciting wide receiver, and games like last weekend are only going to ramp up the attention from local media and college recruiters alike. It only really seems like a matter of time before more Power 5 colleges are offering Thomas, and before you know it, he will have a long list of schools to choose from. But before all of that happens, there is next week’s game against Class A juggernaut ELCA, so stay tuned to @RecruitGeorgia on Twitter to see the latest Hudl highlights from Jayden Thomas and other athletes from across the Peach State.