This was the big fish the Hurricanes really wanted.
Defensive end Chad Thomas, the defensive line MVP at The Opening combine in Oregon two weeks ago and a consensus four-star recruit according to Rivals and 247Sports.com, committed to the University of Miami on Saturday morning -- a day after Miami Booker T. Washington teammate and star cornerback Nigel Bethel did the same.
Like Bethel, Thomas (6-4, 245) used his team's trip to Alabama and Florida State this past week to make sure that Coral Gables is where he really wanted to be.
"I added everything up and Miami had the best offer," said Thomas, who chose the Hurricanes over Florida State, Alabama, N.C. State, Louisville and LSU. "Florida State and Alabama are both great programs. But Miami has got what I’m looking for in terms of opportunity and academics too."
Thomas earned All-Dade and All-State First Team honors last season in helping lead Booker T. to the Class 4A state championship. He racked up 57 tackles and six sacks and along with Bethel and fellow Hurricanes commitment and defensive end Demetrius Jackson will anchor this year's nationally-ranked Tornadoes team on defense.
"I've been to Miami like 50 times," Thomas said. "Coach [Micheal] Barrow has been recruiting me hard since my sophomore year. Coach Barrow was a great player in the NFL and he's been telling me I can be the same down the road."
A two-year starter at Booker T., Thomas said he's gained over 40 pounds since the start of his junior year and the added muscle helps his body recover a lot faster than it did before.
"I work out three times a day with a trainer and basically I eat more," Thomas said. "I used to miss breakfast a lot. Now I eat my breakfast everyday. In fact, I eat four times a day. I’m gaining muscle."
Thomas said he's bench-pressed 225 pounds a total of 16 reps (UM aims for its college linemen to produce at least 20 reps) and was timed at 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
He said he learned a lot at The Opening from Ndamukong Suh, his position coach at the combine and plans to show off what he learned there this season.
"I feel like I'm not only bigger, but faster," Thomas said. "I just can't wait for the season to get started.
As for his college decision, Thomas said: "That's it. I'm done. Now I can just focus on football and school."
Thomas is the 23rd commit in Miami's 2014 class. As of Saturday morning, Miami had the No. 3 ranked recruiting class in the country for 2014 according to 247Sports.com.