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Rocky Mountain junior offensive lineman Ethan Thomason drops back in pass protection against Fossil Ridge on Oct. 22, 2021, at French Field. Courtesy of Jon Austria/Fort Collins Coloradoan.
Rocky Mountain junior offensive lineman Ethan Thomason drops back in pass protection against Fossil Ridge on Oct. 22, 2021, at French Field. Courtesy of Jon Austria/Fort Collins Coloradoan.

The biggest college football recruit from Colorado, literally, is Ethan Thomason from Rocky Mountain.

Look up at the 6-foot-8, 320-pound offensive tackle. Several years in multiple sports gave Thomason a wrestler’s flexibility and a basketball player’s footwork (who can dunk, yes). Now, imagine trying to beat him off the line of scrimmage.

“He’s the complete package,” Rocky Mountain head coach Mark Brook said.

Brook enters his 25th season leading the Lobos with Thomason as his most highly recruited player over that span. The three-star rated prospect (per 247Sports.com) has at least 17 reported scholarship offers — including BYU, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Stanford and Tennessee. Thomason plans to make all of his official visits and commit before the December signing period.

“The most important thing is for me to continue working on bending at the knees instead of at the waist. That’s really important for big guys,” Thomason said. “Coaches love a big guy that can move. I can move pretty well for my size. But I want to show even more this next year.”

Thomason was gifted a massive frame that will open doors at the next level. But take a step back to his freshman season at Rocky Mountain and his football journey began on shaky legs.

“I was always really awkward,” Thomason said. “Like a baby giraffe.”

Thomason grew up around football. His dad, Scott, also played for Rocky Mountain and later in college for Dixie State (Utah). Brook, who coached both father and son over his Lobos tenure, said: “(Scott) was similar to Ethan in the sense that he was a team guy. He’s passed those characteristics down to his son.”

The turning point for Thomason’s development from a “baby giraffe” into a can’t-miss college recruit happened in the offseason entering his sophomore year. Rising coronavirus cases put the sports world on hold that spring, but Thomason linked up with a personal trainer. His body transformed in the gym.

“I was 260 as a freshman and 305 for my sophomore season,” Thomason said. “I put on a lot of weight. That was not just muscle. It was also my body just growing as well.”

His development translated to success on the field. Rocky Mountain’s offense surged last season — 1,757 yards passing and 1,583 yards rushing — with Thomason creating a near-permanent seal off the edge. His junior highlight film (via Hudl.com) showcases Thomason regularly pancaking severely undersized edge rushers.

“He’s been very diligent working on his speed and getting used to carrying that weight around on his frame,” Brook said. “It takes time.”

Thomason, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, plans to graduate a semester early at Rocky Mountain to leave on a two-year mission trip. His first college football season will begin in 2025.

Colorado’s reputation for producing elite-level high school offensive linemen is once again validated with Thomason’s emergence on the national recruiting landscape. He also made junior day visits at CU and CSU. Landing Thompson would be a major victory for both programs that have struggled to keep local star players at home.

“A very humble kid from a great family. He does things the right way,” Brook said. “When kids like that get honored and recognized, as his coach, there’s not a lot better than that. It’s been a pleasure.”