[Editor's note: This story initially included Joshua Davis as one of six Dunbar football players signing national letters of intent to play football on scholarship. Davis, who will play at
Franklin wide receiver Ian Thomas had a few reservations about his intention to sign with
But after a lot of thought, Thomas decided Rutgers was still the right place for him.
"I can't stand here and tell anyone that I will be playing in the NFL," Thomas said during his Wednesday morning signing ceremony, "but I can guarantee I will have a degree from Rutgers in the next four years."
In the Franklin gym before a crowd of family, teammates and friends, Thomas signed his national letter of intent to accept a full football scholarship from the New Jersey school university. He chose the Scarlet Knights over offers from 21 other schools including Iowa and Virginia.
Thomas, a two-time All-Metro selection, was one of dozens of local high school athletes who signed to accept athletic scholarships on the opening day of the official signing period for football, soccer, field hockey and track.
A speedy 6-foot, 190-pound receiver who scored 31 career touchdowns and helped Franklin reach the Class 3A state final in 2010, Thomas said Rutgers interim coach Kyle Flood told him the Scarlet Knights would still use the pro-style offense that Schiano had run. That reassured Thomas that, if he breaks into the lineup, he would get the ball.
"The coaching change was big for me because I've know coach Schiano through this whole process, but now coach Schiano has left and it's a little uncertainly there but it's still all about the players in that program," Thomas said. "I knew I wasn't picking Rutgers for the coaches. It was more for the program. I liked the people in the program, the players in the program, I have great relationships with them all. I feel like it's a great fit for me."
Dunbar had five players sign national letters of intent at its ceremony Wednesday.
All-Metro defensive back Deon-Tay McManus will join former teammate Tavon Austin at West Virginia. Second-team cornerback Terrence Williams and linebacker Ernest Hawkins are headed for Texas-El Paso. Running back Lavar Highsmith signed with Morgan State, and running back
"College, yeah!" Highsmith's ecstatic grandmother Jeanette Nealy said as he signed his letter.
Dunbar lineman Joshua Davis announced he will also play at Morgan State, although he will receive financial aid instead of an athletic scholarship.