"It feels like it's going to take more than a year—it's going to take eight, maybe 10," joked Thomas.
Thomas, a three-star safety prospect, pledged to Northwestern during an unofficial visit in December, in which he took in the Wildcats' bowl preparations. He was sold on a combination of factors, but especially Northwestern's academic prestige.
Since coming to a decision, Thomas has maintained frequent contact with Northwestern's coaches—namely his lead recruiters, Randy Bates and Jerry Brown. He has fielded recruiting attention from other schools, but the interest isn't mutual.
"They show interest, they send hand-written letters all the time," explained Thomas. "I don't really pay too much attention to it. I handle it myself, but ultimately, they come in with no reply."
When last on campus, Thomas watched Northwestern's groundwork for the Gator Bowl, a 38-24 victory of Mississippi State which snapped the program's infamous 64-year bowl-victory drought.
Thomas was glued to the television, watching the Wildcats fight for a win—just weeks after his verbal commitment.
"I was watching the whole game," Thomas said. "They almost had five interceptions, which is huge for that side of the ball. We came out and beat an SEC team. Ultimately, it was just a great win for us. We finished 10-3, we're up and coming, and we're turning the program around."
The arrow appears to be pointing up for Northwestern, and Thomas believes in its future.
"Ultimately, next year, we're continuing to move in the right direction," said Thomas. "10-3 is a great season, but all the guys there are shooting for greatness. Instead of the Gator Bowl, we can end up in the Rose Bowl."
Unfortunately for Thomas, he can't officially refer to Northwestern as a "we" just yet. He still has another year of high school left, before becoming a Wildcat.
"It's just a whole bunch of envy," he said. "I want to get there. I feel like I've been in high school for more than four years. I'm excited for the program. I'm excited to be there."