MANATEE -- IMG Academy linebacker Nick Thomas verbally committed to the University of Wisconsin on Thursday.
The Concordia, Kan., native recorded 106 tackles for the Ascenders' defense last season, helping lead the team to a 9-2 record in its inaugural season.
Wisconsin was the first school to offer Thomas.
"This week I saw the campus and met all the coaches, and I just instantly knew that it was the right place for me and I needed to go ahead and commit," Thomas said. "The facilities were great, the players were awesome, the coaches were amazing -- it's just a perfect fit."
The Badgers, Thomas said, see him in line for early playing time with three seniors at his position graduating. Thomas also has the speed to rotate to safety, which he showed by running in the 100- and 200-meter dashes for the IMG Academy track and field team and working with IMG's speed coach Loren Seagrave.
"I think (Wisconsin) is going to be a great fit for Nick Thomas. He's our team captain, a leader on defense and an athletic linebacker that can play any of those positions for the Badgers," IMG head coach Chris Weinke said.
Thomas enters the IMG Academy 2014 football season as a captain and the team's leading returning tackler. He also is a member of the National Honors Society and is expected to graduate in December to enroll at Wisconsin for spring practices.
IMG's second season begins Aug. 23 with a Kickoff Classic at home against Tallahassee Godby that will be broadcast on Fox Sports Florida and Fox Sports South. The regular season begins Aug. 29 at home against St. John's College High School of Washington, D.C.