Colorado’s biggest college football recruit, quite literally, is Rocky Mountain’s Ethan Thomason.
Look at the 6-foot-8, 320-pound offensive tackle. Several years in several sports gave Thomason the flexibility of a wrestler and the footwork of a basketball player (who can dunk, yeah). Now imagine trying to beat him out of the line of scrimmage.
“He’s the complete package,” Rocky Mountain head coach Mark Brook said.
Brook is entering his 25th season in charge of the Lobos with Thomason as his most recruited player during that span. The three-star rated prospect (per 247Sports.com) has at least 17 reported scholarship offers — including BYU, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Stanford and Tennessee. Thomason plans to make all of his official visits and commit before the December signing period.
“The biggest thing for me is to keep working on bending the knees rather than the waist. That’s really important for the big guys,” Thomason said. “Coaches like a big guy who can move. I can move pretty well for my height, but I want to show even more next year.
Thomason received a massive frame that will open doors to the next level. But go back to his first season at Rocky Mountain and his football journey started on shaky legs.
“I’ve always been very clumsy,” Thomason said. “Like a baby giraffe.”
Thomason grew up around football. His father, Scott, also played for Rocky Mountain and later in college for Dixie State (Utah). Brook, who coached father and son during his tenure at Lobos, said: “(Scott) was similar to Ethan in the sense that he was a team guy. He passed these characteristics on to his son.
The turning point in Thomason’s development from a “baby giraffe” to a can’t-miss college freshman came during the offseason at the start of his sophomore year. Rising coronavirus cases put the sports world on hold that spring, but Thomason teamed up with a personal trainer. Her body transformed in the gym.
“I was 260 freshman year and 305 my sophomore season,” Thomason said. “I gained a lot of weight. It wasn’t just muscle. It was also my body growing too.
Its development has resulted in successes on the ground. Rocky Mountain’s offense surged last season — 1,757 passing yards and 1,583 rushing yards — Thomason creating a near-permanent seal on the edge. His junior highlight film (via Hudl.com) shows Thomason routinely backcombing very undersized edge rushers.
“He worked very diligently on his speed and got used to carrying that weight on his frame,” Brook said. “It takes time.”
Thomason, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, plans to graduate a semester early at Rocky Mountain to go on a two-year mission trip. Its first season of college football will begin in 2025.
Colorado’s reputation for producing elite-level high school offensive linemen is once again validated with Thomason’s emergence into the national recruiting landscape. He also made junior day visits to CU and CSU. Landing Thompson would be a major win for both programs that have struggled to keep homegrown star players at home.
“A very humble kid from a big family. He does things the right way,” Brook said. “When kids like him are honored and recognized, like his coach, it doesn’t get any better than that. It was a pleasure.