Sometimes, getting the opportunity to stay close to home is the most important factor when making a decision.
At least it was for West Creek’s Yahsir Thomas, who arrived in Clarksville going into his junior year of high school. He ended up playing two years of football with the Coyotes and, in his senior year, he earned himself an All-Montgomery County second-team honor after rushing for 500 yards plus 358 receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns.
His football career will now continue not far from home – he has accepted a preferred walk-on role with Austin Peay State.
“I feel like I earned it because I work hard. I struggled a lot… especially because my 9th and 10th grade years I had a lot of injuries and I didn’t get to play varsity. After that, I started working more,” Thomas said.
“(Recruiting) was a rough time. I was getting a little impatient, I was getting a little worried because I wasn’t getting any offers. I was getting interest, but I wasn’t getting any offers because I didn’t know how the recruiting process worked.”
Much of that frustration came from Thomas’ desire to stay close to home. His stepfather is in the military so he, his mother, step-father and younger sister have hardly known one place as home for more than just a few years.
Now committed to the Governors, he knows he has a settled down place he can stay tied down to for at least the next four years while staying close to his family.
Thomas also played cornerback and returned kicks with the Coyotes.
“I’m excited about him,” said West Creek coach James Figueroa. “He worked hard the past two years for us, it’ll be a good opportunity for him to play for someone who took a chance on him like Austin Peay, and they did. I’m very extremely proud of him. He’s one of those leaders, he doesn’t say very much in practice or meetings or anything like that, but when it comes to practice, he’ll go 100 percent for you and never question a call, never has any problems, (and) coaches love him.”
His work ethic extends to the classroom, where Thomas maintained good grades and test scores throughout his time at West Creek.
Listed at just 5-foot-8, the explosive athlete will look to add muscle to his frame in order to handle the uptick in physicality between high school and college football. With a handful of graduating running backs from last year’s Governor squad and only a few recruited in this class, Thomas could potentially see snaps sooner than later.
“I don’t think he’s ever missed a day of practice in his two years (at WCHS),” Figueroa said. “After he’d come to practice, he’d continue to work… He’s just a natural running back with his speed and his eyes. I love the kid, he’s got great heart, good character, he’s one of the most comfortable kids I’ve had since I’ve been at West Creek, and I think he’ll be great for Austin Peay.”