Print and Go Back ESPN.com: On The Trail: Midlands Region [Print without images]

Sunday, January 26, 2014
ESPN 300 DE Thomas talks Arkansas visit

By Damon Sayles

One of the biggest highlights for athletes who take official visits to Arkansas is Catfish Hole, a nationally known restaurant with the reputation of showing the utmost level of hospitality to recruits.

For ESPN 300 defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell), the experience could be described with one word.

“Crazy,” Thomas said. “Oh my.”

Few recruits leave Fayetteville, Ark., with a negative experience, and Thomas said his weekend official visit was memorable. Thomas, a 6-foot-3, 256-pound defensive end and the No. 25 player in the ESPN 300, has Arkansas among his top three schools along with Stanford and UCLA. He plans to announce where he will sign on national signing day, Feb. 5.

Arkansas is Thomas’ final official visit, and he said he was able to gather information not only about the football program but also about the school's academic history. Thomas is expected to major in business, and Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business is a respected program nationally.

The love from Catfish Hole seemed to add icing on the cake for Thomas, who is being recruited by Arkansas defensive line coach Rory Segrest.

“It was a good trip. I really learned from Coach Segrest,” Thomas said. “I like the kind of coach and person that Coach Segrest is. I like the rules and regulations for academics and for higher standards and the fan support.”

Thomas visited UCLA the weekend of Dec. 13 and Stanford the weekend of Jan. 10. He said he will go over the three official visits with his parents and then make a decision.

If Arkansas is the winner on Feb. 5, look for three factors to play a role in the decision: playing against the best the SEC has to offer, getting a good education and being with family. Thomas’ older sister, Ella, is in her third year at Arkansas, and he said the time spent with his sister trumped even life at Catfish Hole.

“It’s always great to see your best friend,” he said.