Ambry Thomas will lead King before making college choice

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Ambry Thomas

Ambry Thomas was a key contributor to Detroit King’s Division 2 state championship run last fall.

Now, Thomas is planning his summer to prepare for his senior year as a team leader and four-star cornerback.

Thomas showed he can play on the other side of the ball as well last year, hauling in a short pass and turning it into a 50-yard TD in the season-opening comeback win over Warren De La Salle, then grabbing a 41-yard TD reception to pull King within 31-26 early in the fourth quarter of an eventual 40-38 state title game win over Lowell.

Thomas is among the state’s top three players in the state, joining Detroit Cass Tech five-star receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s linebacker Josh Ross, who is committed to Michigan.

Thomas has more than two dozen offers, including Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State from the Big Ten; LSU, Tennessee, Auburn and Ole Miss from the SEC; Arizona and UCLA of the Pac-12; along with other national powers in Notre Dame and Oklahoma.

Thomas plans to attend the Sound Mind Sound Body Academy next month, and earlier this month he earned an invitation to The Opening Finals in Oregon in July, an elite recruiting camp for the top players in the nation.

Thomas has not narrowed his offers down to a top five, but said Michigan and Michigan State are still high on his list, as is Notre Dame, Arizona, Penn State and Pittsburgh.

“I love their defensive coordinator, Coach Brown,” said Thomas of new Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown. “He had the No. 1 defense at Boston College last year and has brought that to Michigan, so I like what they’re doing right now. I’ve talked to him a lot. I like his scheme.”

As for Michigan State, Thomas said: “I got on the phone with Coach Dantonio (Tuesday) night and we had a good conversation, and talked to Coach Barnett (co-defensive coordinator). I have a lot of teammates there and feel real comfortable there.”

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Thomas’ former King teammate, cornerback / receiver Donnie Corley, enrolled early at Michigan State and competed in spring practice. Now, Thomas will get the chance to follow in Corley’s footsteps and compete in The Opening.

“I want to ball, showcase my talent and have fun,” said Thomas of The Opening.

When asked when he plans on making his college decision, Thomas replied: “Toward the end of this football season. I just want to lead my team to another state championship since it’s my senior year and this is my team this year.”

Rodney Hall

Hall on road back

While Thomas is undecided about his future, Detroit Cass Tech quarterback Rodney Hall knows exactly where he wants to go after he plays his final season this fall.

Hall is thrilled on his decision to play at Northern Illinois, a MAC power that played in a BCS bowl game a few years ago and had one of its quarterbacks – Jordan Lynch – become a Heisman finalist in 2013.

Hall is glad his recruiting process is over so he can concentrate on getting back to operating Cass Tech’s offense after missing the Division 1 state semifinals and state title game due to a leg injury.

“It was painful and I cried before the (championship) game and cried after it (title game loss to Romeo) because I feel like the team’s been loving me for the past couple of years, felt like we had a great season coming into the playoffs and I felt like I let them down because I got hurt,” said Hall.

Hall fractured his left fibula and needed two surgeries.

“They put screws and a plate in, then in my second surgery they took the screws out,” Hall said. “Right now it’s basically all the way heeled. I just have to get my mobility back.”

Hall threw for 2,384 yards and 19 TDs and ran for 1,127 yards and another 16 scores.

“Northern Illinois is the best fit for me because they run the same type of offense that we run,” noted Hall. “I took a visit up there and I like the coaching staff a lot. I just clicked with the players and it felt like home.”