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January 17, 2012Colorado State announced in a press release Tuesday afternoon that starting quarterback Pete Thomas has indeed withdrawn from the university. It had been reported by multiple outlets, including GoldandGreenNews.com, that the former four-star signal caller was highly likely to leave the program.
Thomas came to CSU from Valhalla High School in El Cajon (Calif.) as Steve Fairchild's prized four-star recruit as part of the Class of 2010. Thomas had verbally committed to Arizona State and Dennis Erickson's staff prior to a change in offensive coordinators at the school. He then took a visit to CSU and de-committed to join Steve Fairchild at Colorado State. He came in ranked as the 16th rated pro-style quarterback by Rivals.com that year.
Thomas enrolled in the spring semester and got a head start in the quarterback competition with fellow freshman Nico Ranieri, and was announced the starter during fall camp. Thomas had started every game as a true freshman, throwing for 2,662 yards on 253-of-391 passing, setting a CSU single-season record with a .647 completion percentage. He also threw for 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Until a knee injury sidelined him in week nine in 2011, Thomas had started 21 straight contests under center. He finished this past season with 1,607 yards, with seven touchdowns and eight picks. Thomas had a career-high 387 yards passing in a homecoming loss to San Jose State, in which he threw for three scores and rushed for another.
He was expected to compete with Garrett Grayson, who started the final three games of the 2011 season, and redshirt freshman Conner Smith for the starting job in 2012. With the dismissal of Fairchild, it was speculated that Thomas might transfer due to their close relationship.
Thomas' absence will mean the Rams will once again be young at the quarterback position in the fall. Grayson brings three starts and a bevy of talent at both running and throwing the ball, while Smith, who at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, has the size and arm strength that could make him a viable candidate to see playing time. Also don't count out incoming freshman C.J. Leonard, who enrolls this spring after having played a season of prep ball in North Carolina after leading the state of Colorado in passing as a senior at Fossil Ridge in 2010.
It is unclear where exactly Thomas is expected to enroll, but he has a redshirt year to burn if he decides to play at another Division 1 school. He has two years of eligibility remaining.