The On Campus Report provides Stark County football fans a chance to catch up with the stars they watched a few years back on Friday nights. WHBC’s Noah Hiles sits down and speaks with some of the former greats from local teams to find out how their playing experience is going at the next level. Week by week check in to see how some of the area’s best athletes are doing on the college gridiron.
COLUMBUS (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – A small write up in a Notre Dame football magazine. That is how Ohio State long snapper Phillip Thomas first became interested in giving his unique position a try.
“My dad is a huge Notre Dame fan,” Thomas said. “He got the Blue and Gold magazine from Notre Dame and read about this long snapper named Scott Daly. The more we read about him, the more we decided that (long snapping) was something we could be interested in.”
Thomas, who was in middle school at the time, went to social media to find out more.
“I actually reached out to Scott, I think it was on Facebook,” said Thomas. “He told me what camps to go to.”
Following a quick conversation with his new favorite player, Thomas was then directed to “long snapping guru” Chris Rubio. The specialist trainer located out of Idaho hosted camps all around the country. After looking things over, Thomas and his father both agreed to give the guru a shot.
What started as a dream has turned into reality for Thomas. The former Louisville Leopard is entering his fourth season as a walk-on player for the Buckeyes. A quick read when he was in middle school has allowed Phillips to experience things like last year’s Rose Bowl victory and three straight wins against “the team up North.”
However, Thomas just didn’t stumble into Columbus due to luck. He says he gained the Buckeyes attention the same way any of their other recruits do, by being the best of the best.
“I was at a camp in Dublin, Ohio,” said Thomas. “I won a snapping competition. That kind of put me on the radar. I started talking to the walk on coordinator (at Ohio State) and we just went from there.”
On December 1 of his senior year, the Buckeyes asked Thomas to join their team the following season as a walk on. He said yes, making him the fourth member in his family to attend the University (both parents and his older brother, who is in dental school.)
Thomas has yet to see major action at Ohio State. He sits behind Liam McCullough on the depth chart, who is a four year starter. Yet, Phillips has not allowed the lack of playing time to make him forget how special of an opportunity he has.
“I definitely keep working at my craft every single day,” said Thomas. “There is always something that can be improved, in some way, shape or form. A lot of it is motivation.
Phillips continued saying, “It is kind of mundane some days. Some days I do more than others. What I think about when I am not motivated enough, I think about all the kids that wish they could be in my spot and how lucky I am to be here. I get to be here, I get to do this.”