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Wisconsin football recruiting: LB Nick Thomas enrolls early at Wisconsin

Despite a late official visit to Nebraska, the three-star linebacker reaffirmed his pledge and looks to make an impact on a wide-open race at inside linebacker

UW Athletic Communications
Class
Position
Height
Weight
2015
ILB
6'2
230 lbs
School
Composite Ranking
IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
No. 58 ILB

Go to Wisconsin Football Recruiting Hub >>

Initially from rural Kansas, the three-star recruit moved down to Florida to play football at IMG Academy -- whose head coach is former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke. After catching the eye of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, Wisconsin was the first school to offer him in May 2014, and he committed the month after:

At 6'2, 222 pounds and with a 40-yard dash clocked at 4.62 seconds, he's an impressive prospect who could wind up being an under-the-radar recruit once he sees playing time. Wisconsin was the first of two schools to offer Thomas back in May; Hawaii just offered this week. His offer sheet was likely due to expand quickly, however, as multiple reports indicate schools like Baylor, Miami and Oklahoma, among others, had begun to show interest.

After Gary Andersen left Wisconsin for Oregon State in early December, Thomas took an official visit to Nebraska, but ultimately chose to stick with his pledge to the Badgers and enroll early.

Rankings

Rivals: 5.5

Scout: (No. 46 LB)

ESPN: 78 (No. 18 ILB)

247: 85 (No. 38 ILB)

Verbally committed on June 12, 2014

Aranda receives the nod as the main recruiter for Thomas, who nearly doubled his tackles for loss total between his junior (8) and senior (14) seasons. Per a Scout.com article, FBS schools Arizona, Florida, Miami and Georgia came into contact with Thomas after Andersen left. As BadgerNation.com's Ben Worgull, conversations between Aranda, new head coach Paul Chryst, and Thomas reassured his initial commitment:

"When Coach Aranda told me he was staying that definitely swayed me back towards Wisconsin. When Coach Chryst called me and I got to talk to him for the first time, I got a feel for who he was and I was really excited. He is a great guy and I think he will be great for the University, so I can't wait to get up there and play for him."

The 6-2, 230-pound linebacker, who sits as the No. 44 middle linebacker and three-star recruit by Scout.com, saw his recruitment get wild after the news of Andersen's departure, but his conversation with Chryst made him feel Wisconsin was the place for him.

"He was a great guy," said Thomas. "We talked about life and talked about everything. We didn't specifically talk about football, and I just wanted to get a feel for him of who he was as a person. He was really nice and funny and personable. He is going to do great things and I can't wait to get up there."

Highlights

Statistics (via MaxPreps.com)

Senior: 88 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 4 sacks

Junior: 99 total tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks

Sophomore: 78 total tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 1 sack

Freshman: 13 total tackles, 1 sack