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No more doubting Thomas

Boardman standout commits to Purdue, fulfills lifelong dream

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes Terence Thomas, right, sheds a Cuyahoga Falls defender en route to a 55-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Jason Triveri during a 49-0 win in the first round of the Division I playoffs last fall. Thomas has decided to play for Purdue University at the next level.

Boardman football star Terence Thomas is ready to complete a lifelong dream, and late last week that dream became a reality.

The rising senior who totaled 1,162 all-purpose yards with 17 touchdowns last season rounded out his college recruitment Friday by committing to play football in the Big Ten Conference for Purdue.

Thomas chose the Boilermakers over Boston College, Kent State, Kentucky, Marshall and North Carolina State.

“This feels great, honestly, because I already had a lot going on before this stuff,” Thomas said. “I had surgery on my knee, so I had a bunch of stress built up from going through that and then going through the process of making a decision. So this just helps take a lot of stress off, and it feels really good.”

Thomas said Boston College and Purdue were his final two choices, but once he got on Purdue’s campus and met the coaches in person, he was sold on becoming a Boilermaker.

“It was definitely difficult between Boston College and Purdue, but when I went on my Purdue visit it really sealed the deal for me,” Thomas said. “When I went up there, they really showed me that they cared for me and they wanted me to be there. It was real family-oriented.”

The West Lafayette, Indiana-bound Spartan did it all last year for Boardman. Along with being a big threat in the return game, Thomas threw for 380 yards, rushed for 655 and recorded 165 receiving yards as well.

This year, Thomas will be in the backfield more as a quarterback. He said he’s looking to round out his game as a signal-caller, but when he heads west next year, he said Purdue plans to use him all over the field.

“They’ll have me as a hybrid guy, and of course I’ll be on the return side of things, but like a running back-slot type of guy,” Thomas said. “They’ll use me in any way they can get me the ball.

“I love being involved in every aspect of the game. It really keeps the defense on their toes.”

More and more players are making themselves more versatile in the NFL so they have the ability to play all over the field. Whether it’s in the backfield or outside as a receiver, you see quick and shifty players like Thomas line up all over.

Because of that, Thomas said that he’s tried to model his game after Purdue’s Rondale Moore, who was drafted in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.

Moore stands at 5-foot-7, 181 pounds, compared to Thomas, who is 5-foot-11, 185 pounds. The future Boilermaker sees a lot of similarities, and Moore provided him with a lot of hope.

“I’ve just been modeling my game after him because we’re both pretty much the same size,” Thomas said. “That really gave me faith because I see him go out there and do it, so I know I can go out there and do it.”

Since he was a young kid, Thomas said he’s always dreamed of playing at the next level, just like every kid does. He said he felt like his dream became more of a reality after his sophomore season and now he’s happy that it’s coming true.

“I always knew that I wanted to be a great football player and go play at the next level,” Thomas said. “When this happened, I was like ‘O.K., this dream is becoming a reality.’ It feels good. It feels really good.”

Thomas will see time under center this year as the quarterback for Boardman and he’ll also be a contributor on the defensive side of the ball as well. But, with the pressure of a college decision off his shoulders, he said he’s ready to let loose.

“This will help me just relax,” Thomas said. “It was definitely a lot of weight on my shoulders. The recruiting process was fun and I had a good time with it, but it was also stressful. So now that I’ve made my decision, I can focus on the guys and getting them where they need to be, and focus on myself and bring it to the football community.”

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