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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

2021 Notre Dame WR Commit Jayden Thomas More Than an Athlete

October 2, 2020
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Pace Academy (Ga.) is one of the top high schools in Georgia and Fred Assaf serves as the head of the school. 

Assaf has seen new Notre Dame receiver commit Jayden Thomas‍ in various settings and the four-star prospect has left a powerful impression.

"I taught him in my English class as an 11th grader," Assaf stated. "He's an incredible student, but he's an even better person. He truly is the kind kid who everyone in class respects not because of his athletic ability, but because of who he is. 

"He's a high character guy who really invests in the community. Wherever he goes to college, the team will benefit from his presence, whether or not they benefit from his athletic skills. He's just that kind of guy." 

Throughout the years, Assaf has seen Thomas excel at Pace Academy on and off the field, but it's the little things no one may see that sticks out the most. 

"Nothing has surprised me," explained Assaf. "I've always seen him in those terms. He's the kind of guy who shepherds freshmen as a peer leader, which is a prized possession here. He really does the right thing when no one is working - he picks up after practice and he's around the school to help younger students. He's just that guy."

Thomas will join a long line of players headed to play Division I football and will carry to torch of being a leader on and off the field at the next level. 

"He joins a long line of kids we feel are as good on the field as they are off the field," said Assaf. "That's a real point of pride for us." 

The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder holds offers from just about every major program in the country and even that didn't impact his daily life. 

And now, Thomas is leading his team through a terrible situation. 

"It totally hasn't gone to his head," explained Assaf. "It's evident by him being focused on his team. Last Friday, we had a tragic accident at our game. One of his teammates (Jordan Sloan) suffered a brain injury in the game and he's very close to Jayden and the team. 

"Jayden being a senior and a leader, it's been a lot for them to manage, but they have done all the right things and taken care of each other. He's taken the time to check on everyone and really done a great job in a very challenging condition."

Thomas will now get the chance to leave his impact in South Bend. 

"He's one of the best," said Assaf. "Whatever God allows him to do on the field, but as a member of the community, I'm confident he'll be one of the best kids they've seen." 

 
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