FORT PAYNE — With two college-bound wide receivers in Matthew Shaddix and Carter Pinholster starting ahead of him as a sophomore, Fort Payne’s Cam Thomas continued grinding and waited for his opportunity.
When Wildcats coach Chris Elmore moved Thomas to the defense during his sophomore season, he made an immediate impact.
“It was an easy transition back to offense this year and he really made a lot of plays for us,” Elmore said.
Last Tuesday, the senior wide receiver signed a national letter of intent to continue his education and football career at Point University.
“It was a great experience,” Thomas said of sharing his signing day with friends at Fort Payne High School. “I’m glad I was able to have a few friends there due to COVID, and signing to a school to play football is something I’ve always dreamed of.”
Point University, located in West Point, Ga., competes in the Mid-South Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Thomas was quarterback J.D. Blalock’s top target in 2020, finishing the season with 39 receptions for 668 yards (a 17.1-yards-per-catch average) with five touchdowns. As a runner, Thomas gained 97 yards on four carries with a touchdown. He also returned 18 kickoffs for 265 yards.
When playing defense in spots this season, Thomas accounted for 10 tackles, including eight solo stops.
Elmore said about halfway through this season, the team began isolating Thomas on the outside and felt like he could beat almost any cornerback opposite of him in a 1-on-1 situation.
“He was even able to make some plays against Oxford and Gardendale,” the coach said. “Those two teams had some very talented corners. He led us in receiving yards and TDs and made several big plays in basically every game that we played.”
Thomas said he began playing football around age 9 or 10, which is later than many begin playing the sport.
It didn’t matter. He still got a thrill from it.
Thomas said the opportunity to play football at the college level added some weight in selecting his collegiate destination. Among his offers, he said Point University stood out from the beginning.
“I like the location; it’s not too far from home,” he said. “I like how they base their school and their football program around religion and faith. I felt like I could go there and compete.”
In addition to football, Thomas also played basketball at Fort Payne High School and has spent his entire educational career in Fort Payne City Schools.
Thomas said he plans to study sports management at Point.
“I am excited for Cam and his family,” Elmore said. “I think Cam truly loves the game of football and loves to compete. This will give him an opportunity to continue to do something that he loves while he gets an education and a college degree. It’s a great situation for him. And, since it’s not that far away from home, his family will still be able to watch him play as well.
“We want to see our players succeed in life after high school and we look forward to following his progress in the future.”