U.S. Army All-American and consensus five-star prospect Solomon Thomas, a defensive end out of Coppell (Texas), is now down to three finalists after eliminating two schools on Monday.
The 6'3, 260-pound Thomas will choose from the Arkansas Razorbacks, Stanford Cardinal, and UCLA Bruins when he makes his decision, likely on National Signing Day. The finalists are in no particular order.
Once a favorite, the Longhorns faded down the stretch as a result of coaching changes, while the Buckeyes had merely hung around in the recruitment of Thomas.
Ranked as the No. 2 strong side defensive end nationally and the No. 3 player in the state of Texas by the 247Sports Composite rankings, Thomas is the No. 25 player nationally in those rankings. He holds at least 25 offers, including invitations to play at Alabama, Baylor, BYU, Cal, Clemson, LSU, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, TCU and Texas A&M, among others.
Thomas told SB Nation Recruiting in early January that the coaching staff -- especially the strength and conditioning coach -- and the town of Fayetteville are major appeals for the Razorbacks. The fact that the sister of the five-star defensive end goes to school at Arkansas helped get Thomas onto campus and the Arkansas coaching staff has taken advantage of those visits, surviving multiple cuts.
As for the Bruins, Thomas said that the academic excellence of the school is a major factor in his recruitment, as well as the internship program and the "beautiful campus." He also has a high comfort level with Adrian Klemm, the UCLA offensive line coach who has earned a reputation as an excellent recruiter.
Throughout much of Thomas' recruitment, academics have been seen as the major factor, but he said that the internship programs and alumni connections will also play a role in his decision.
Asked about presumed leader Stanford, which has been trending heavily in recent weeks for Thomas in the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, Thomas said that the internship programs and academics are major reasons why he likes the program in Palo Alto. The physical nature of a defense that has stopped some of the top spread attacks in the league in recent years is also a positive for Thomas.
Even with the loss of defensive coordinator Derek Mason to Vanderbilt, where he is the new head coach, the Cardinal still appear to be the favorite after Thomas received word during his official visit over the weekend that he has been accepted to Stanford. With that going down as expected, the big, physical defensive end looks like he will play his college football for the Cardinal.