Next season, Randy Edsall's Maryland Terrapins and the Penn State Nittany Lions will face off on the football field in a Big Ten rivalry.

Over this past weekend, however, the Nittany Lions earned an early victory over the Susquehannock High School graduate.

Johnathan Thomas, who had verbally committed to Edsall's Terrapins, changed his mind on Sunday and decided to join the Lions, instead.

Thomas is rated a three-star recruit, on a five-star scale, by recruiting services and

Thomas attends St. John's Prep in Danvers, Mass., which is the alma mater of PSU head coach Bill O'Brien. The 5-foot, 11-inch, 205-pounder is rated the top recruit in Massachusetts and was leading the state in rushing with 748 yards when he suffered a season-ending ACL knee injury, according to He expects to make a full recovery.

He becomes the 14th member of Penn State's 2014 recruiting class and the third running back.

Thomas verbally committed to Maryland in early May, after also considering schools such as Arkansas, Boston College and UConn. He reportedly received an offer from PSU on Sept. 14 and tore his ACL on Sept. 28. Thomas told 247sports that PSU had always been his "dream school."

Between Sept. 14 and Sept. 28, PSU learned that the NCAA would gradually ease the school's scholarship sanctions, which had been imposed after the Sandusky scandal. The Lions now have 20 scholarships to give in 2014 and will have its full scholarship allotment -- 25 annually, 85 total -- starting in 2016.


According to, three of Penn State's 2014 recruits -- Michael O'Connor, De'Andre Thompkins and Antoine White -- are set to enroll in January. Their scholarships will count toward the Lions' 2013 recruiting class, giving O'Brien the ability to add as many as nine more players in the 2014 class.

Thomas is the second player to commit to PSU since the Lions' thrilling four-overtime 43-40 triumph over Michigan. That game was played before a raucous sellout Whiteout crowd of 108,000 and a number of high-profile recruits attended that game.