BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana football scored big on the recruiting trail again on Friday after getting a commitment from standout Fort Lauderdale defensive end Richard Thomas Jr.
Thomas plays at American Heritage High School and is a 6-foot-2, 255-pound defensive end who received significant SEC and Big Ten interest on the recruiting trail.
He narrowed his top five to Penn State, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Indiana last week and announced him commitment to the Hoosiers on Twitter on Friday.
Others to show interest were LSU, Auburn, Oregon, and Michigan. He is the third Indiana commitment in the Class of 2022, and the third on the defensive side of the ball. The other two are linebackers Dasan McCullough on Bloomington South and Kaiden Turner and Fayetteville, Ark.
Thomas continues the South Florida pipeline to Indiana. All-American cornerback Tiawan Mullen is from there as well. Thomas is coached by former NFL cornerback Patrick Surtain, at American Heritage. According to reports, he has had 14 sacks and 24 tackles for loss during his last two seasons at American Heritage.
Thomas has been a key player on the American Heritage defensive line the past two seasons. As a sophomore in 2019, he had a breakout season. He racked up 77 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and seven sacks, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
In 2020, he had 64 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and seven sacks, playing a key role on a dominant defense as the Patriots won the Class 5A state title.
Indiana has several defensive linemen from Florida on their roster, including Michael Ziemba (Sanford), Jonathan King (Tampa) and James Head Jr. (Miami)
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