A high school running back who was expected to solidify Washington State’s depth at the position, and possibly contribute as a true freshman, is unlikely to join the team this fall.
According to a source close to the program, Jamir Thomas, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound running back from Massillon (Ohio) High is “an extreme long shot” to join the Cougars this fall because of academic eligibility concerns.
The source said Thomas is still working to gain his eligiblity but that it’s unlikely to happen before the team regroups for fall camp in less than two weeks’ time.
Thomas was heavily recruited as a linebacker coming out of the prestigious football program in Massillon, Ohio, earning a four-star rating from ESPN and drawing offers from a slew of Power Five programs including Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa State, West Virginia and Kentucky.
The opportunity to play running back, however, is supposedly what drew him to WSU and Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense. Thomas set Massillon’s career mark for rushing yards (4,025 yards), rushing touchdowns (56), rushing attempts (773) and scoring (344 points) and was rated a three-star athlete by most recruiting services.
He was one of two high school running backs to sign with the Cougars during the December early period, joining Florida’s Jouvensly Bazile.
McIntosh enrolled, signed
Wednesday also produced some good news out of the running back department.
Junior college transfer Deon McIntosh, a former Notre Dame player, has enrolled at WSU and signed with the Cougars, a school spokesperson confirmed. Earlier this summer, Cougfan.com first reported that Thomas, who most recently played at JC powerhouse East Mississippi Community College, had joined the Cougars as a blueshirt.
McIntosh found his way to WSU in large part because of Leach’s relationship with the player’s coach at Cardinal Gibbons (Florida) High – a school that also runs a version of Leach’s passing offense.
Leach said the Cougars “researched (McIntosh’s) situation” and underwent a “vetting process” before bringing him on board. The running back was dismissed by Brian Kelly at Notre Dame following an unspecified violation of team rules before landing at East Mississippi.
“Hopefully everything works out for Deon and works out for us as well,” Leach said Wednesday at Pac-12 Media Day.
McIntosh has already put on 10 pounds since stepping onto campus and is “really explosive,” according to the WSU coach.
“You can see that on film,” Leach said. “Comes out of his cuts really fast. The other thing you didn’t really see much on the Notre Dame film, in high school he had good hands. Really good hands. But yeah, he’s explosive, so we’re kind of excited about him. See how it goes.”