On Wednesday morning, about 16 and a half weeks after suffering a partially torn ACL, East Jessamine running back Cameron Thomas signed a national letter of intent to play football at Tusculum College in Greenville, Tenn.
Thomas was surrounded by family and friends from all over the county, district officials and local business leaders. Seated at his signing table as he made his signing official were his parents, Terina and Lynn; sister Kiera; and grandmothers Jackie and Bobbi.
The signing completes what has been one of the most impressive careers in East football history.
As a junior, Thomas rushed for 2,454 yards and 23 touchdowns. In his senior season, which was cut short by four games, he rushed for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was on pace to rush for more than 2,600 yards and 27 touchdowns.
For his career, Thomas rushed for 5,012 yards and 47 touchdowns.
“I came in as a freshman at East, maybe a little lazy and not knowing a lot about football because I didn’t play much, but (coach Mike Bowlin) just getting on me and making me go hard (made me a better player),” Thomas said.
On Oct. 7, Thomas had already run for 337 yards and four touchdowns against Montgomery County when he partially tore the ACL in his left knee. He did not play the final four games of the season and missed the first 11 games of the basketball season.
“(Today) seemed too far away,” Thomas said, looking back on when he injured his knee. “I thought I was done. God got me through it and everything and I just worked hard to get back.”
One of the things that drew Thomas to Tusculum was its academics.
“They have a great education system, graduation rate, and major I want to go into,” he said. “They also have a good block system. What they do is, they give you a subject for 18 days and you learn all about that for 18 days, which for me I thought that would be a great thing to do.”
Thomas wants to study athletic training or physical therapy.
He’s grown familiar with physical therapy over the last few months. Instead of going under the knife to repair his ACL, he went through rehab and therapy, which he still continues.
“I’m still working on it. I’m pretty much 100 percent, but you can always get it better,” Thomas said.
Getting back to 100 percent has been evident in his play on the basketball court, and he continues to improve with each game he plays.
Tusculum is a private college in northeast Tennessee. The Pioneers compete at the NCAA Division-II level and are a member of the South Atlantic Conference. Tusculum went 3-8 overall last season with a 2-5 record in the conference.
“(The coaches) are awesome; they really get at it. I went to a combine about a month ago down there as pretty much a college visit; it was a real good experience. The football team loves each other,” Thomas said.