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January 6, 2013

Meet Ethan Thomas

A trip to the state semi-finals and over 2000 yards rushing is a rare year for an upperclassman, let alone a sophomore. For Elizabethton, Tennessee native Ethan Thomas, it was what he hopes is the beginning of much more to come.

"Coming in I thought it was possible because coach (Shaun) Witten always says to run hard and it will take you where you want to go," Thomas said. "I had high hopes and I spent a lot of time with my lineman. I stayed motivated and it turned out to be a good year."

Coached by former Virginia Tech wide receiver Shaun Witten, Thomas has shown a great dedication to the game. He works hard and it paid off in a big way in 2012.

"We knew he had great potential," Witten said. "We wanted to develop him into a complete back and he really surprised us early last summer. He's humble, appreciative, coachable and a hard worker. He wants to be good."

What he also wants is to deliver punishment to opposing defenses. As a freshman, he tallied 50 total touchdowns at the Freshman, Junior Varsity and Varsity level combined. This season, he scored 19 times in amongst those 2095 rushing yards and did so while splitting time.

"Personally I like contact," Thomas said. "I like to run through people. Coach Witten wants me to use my toolbox more because he wants me to be healthy and not go for the contact every time."

The toolbox analogy hit home for Thomas and he takes pride in trying to be an complete player.

"It's something we have adopted from coaching clinics," Witten said. "There are a number of different tools and you never know when you'll have to use them. It goes back to being a complete back. Being able to go inside, outside, catch the ball out of the backfield. I think he's coming that kind of back."

Thomas is just starting to see what recruiting is all about. His sophomore campaign impressed Tennessee running backs coach Jay Graham and the two recently had the chance to speak. Surprisingly Thomas had done his homework on the former Vol.

"He played at Tennessee and was a good player," Thomas said. "He also went back and got his degree when he and coach Witten were (Graduate Assistants). He was the only coach to stay on the new staff. He wants me to come up in January and check things out."

Thomas isn't thinking offers and commitment. He's looking just like he runs the football on Friday nights, and that's straight ahead. Tennessee is a school he has interest in, but a possible January trip would give him a much better idea of what they have to offer.

"I like their campus," Thomas said. "They have strong academic programs and I want a good coach that cares about me and my academics."

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