The most sought after recruit in the Central Coast's class of 2019 made his decision Friday.
Righetti's Caleb Thomas, who helped the Warriors to their first-ever CIF title game this past season by playing on the offensive and defensive lines as well as tight end, announced that he signed with Tulane Friday evening.
"First and foremost, I would like to thank all of my teammates, coaches, and family members who have pushed me to become the man I am today," Thomas wrote on Twitter. "Without them, none of my dreams would've ever became a reality. I was blessed with unbelievable support and motivation which helped push me to the position I am at now."
"NOLA, here I come," Thomas wrote on his social media post.
Thomas was heavily-sought on the recruiting trail in the North Santa Barbara County region, holding up to six scholarship offers including one from nearby university Cal Poly, an offer from Mountain West Conference program San Jose State and one from another MWC program in UNLV.
But in the end, Thomas tells The Times that there were three factors that made his decision easy in choosing the Green Wave.
"The school is everything I could ask for: Great academics, great football and great people," Thomas said. "The visit definitely swayed my decision."
Thomas took his official visit to the campus during the weekend of Dec. 8. He even got a chance to wear the Green Wave's popular "Turnover Beads," which is given to a defender when he recovers a fumble or intercepts a pass.
From a football standpoint, Thomas believes Tulane's defense can compare to what the Warriors ran with him in the trenches.
"During the season we switched to a defense that is similar with three down lineman,"Thomas said. "The coaches (at Tulane) and I think I can thrive (in that scheme)."
Thomas is the lone Santa Maria Valley player to sign with a FBS school during this Early Signing Period. He plans to hold a signing day party with family and friends soon, he tells The Times.
Thomas recorded 42 solo tackles, 14 sacks and 16 TFLs this past season, and also intercepted a pass. As a junior, Thomas won the 2017 PAC-5 Most Valuable Player award after dominating the trenches on both offense and defense.
And he had to overcome a season-ending knee injury his sophomore year to become one of the most decorated linemen in Righetti history.
"My Righetti career could not have gone more soundly. My career ending injury my sophomore year made me hungrier than ever before and brought back a monster that wouldn’t take no for an answer," Thomas said.
He's expected to play on the defensive line at Tulane. He hopes that his journey and high energy play in the RHS uniform can inspire future generations of Warrior players.
"I hope my experiences proves to kids that you can play at the next level out of Righetti. If you work hard enough, and make it your own all is possible," Thomas said.
Sports Editor Joe Bailey contributed to this report.