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Mitchell County senior James Thomas doesn’t care if he is playing offense or defense. He is all about having fun and helping his younger teammates learn and thrive.

Mitchell County is a very rural county in one of the state’s toughest economic areas, maybe that is why there are so many excellent athletes in one small county. There are six Division I football prospects in that rank in the top 45 of southern Georgia from this small area — and none shine brighter than Mitchell County quarterback James Thomas.

Thomas is a senior this year after leading his team to a region championship as a sophomore, then into the state playoffs last year and finishing with a 8-3 record. He could do even better this season.

“James Thomas is one heck of a football player,” said Mitchell County head coach Deshon Brock. “He is very versatile and can play multiple positions on the field. He has the ability to take over a game. He has a bright future he just has to continue to work hard, remain humble and stay focused and the sky is the limit for him.”

He came to Camilla and Mitchell County in third grade and began playing football with the Mitchell County Falcons.

Thomas has multiple division one college football offers such as West Virginia, Georgia Southern and South Florida already, but has not made a commitment yet. He said he is still hearing from different colleges regularly.

Thomas, a three-sport athlete who thrives on the basketball court and the track as well as on the football field, is the son of Ollie Lee and Louis Cochran. He lost his mother at a very early age and uses that as part of his motivation for being such a talented athlete. A tattoo on his left arm helps him remember.

“I think my mom saw greatness in me,” Thomas said. “Every day I look at this tattoo and it reminds of her and what she wanted for me. That motivates me.”

But Thomas is not looking at a state championship goal, yet. Instead he said he is focusing on each game and each step.

“Our goal this year is to come together as a team and take a step forward game by game,” Thomas said. “I don’t want to think about a state championship yet, I want us to get through the region first.”

But even though he is looking to win, he is having fun. Thomas said it doesn’t matter if he is playing offense — where he is in the quarterback position, or on defense in the linebacker position — it is all about having fun and helping the younger players become what they want.

“I enjoy seeing the younger guys come up and learn,” he said. “I want to be here to help them with their situation. One of my things is getting younger guys into sports so they can stay out of the streets and be the right person and not the wrong person.”

So not only is James Thomas a dynamite athlete, he is pretty dynamite as a human as well.

A complete photo gallery of all the players in the Dynamite Dozen will be on albanyherald.com later this week.

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