John Robinson brought credibility to UNLV's program when he signed on as coach in 1998.
Soon after, he brought in something -- or rather, someone -- who may make the Rebels credible on the field.
While UNLV bumbled to a 3-8 record in Robinson's inaugural campaign, Thomas was perhaps the best scout-team signal caller in the nation. He didn't play a real down for the Rebels because, simply, he couldn't -- Thomas had to sit out the 1999 season after transferring from USC.
As USC's coach in 1997, Robinson recruited Thomas, then a superstar prep quarterback at Compton's Dominguez High School. More than a year later, a disenchanted Thomas was shopping for a transfer after redshirting his freshman year with the Trojans. Robinson recruited him again -- and again, Thomas accepted, instantly becoming one of the top recruits in UNLV history.
Thomas has yet to play a down of college football, and Robinson is trying not to get caught up in the lofty preseason hype. Even after an impressive April scrimmage -- one in which Thomas led the team in both passing and rushing -- Robinson declined to name the sophomore as the official starter.
Still, Thomas' strong left arm, imposing size (6'4", 240 lbs.) and his impressive athletic ability create a quarterbacking package that can't be ignored. In addition to football, Thomas intends to play basketball for the Runnin' Rebels in the winter.
"Thomas brings almost stunning physical gifts to the position and appears to have a lot of the intangibles as well," Robinson said.
-- Luke Winn