The clock read 3:10 p.m. Basketball practice was in less than two hours, but Lewis Central junior Thomas Fidone knew that left 110 minutes to get some work in on the football field.
Plus, former teammate and current TCU starting quarterback Max Duggan was in town and wanted to throw some passes.
When you’re viewed as one of the best tight end prospects in the country — as is the case for the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Fidone — that’ the type of work ethic that’s needed.
“Most kids probably wouldn’t want to kill their body and go catch some balls, but I’m just trying to get better and perfect my craft,” Fidone said.
It would be easy for Fidone to bask in his accomplishments. He holds offers from 15 Power 5 schools with Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, Minnesota, Northwestern, LSU, West Virginia, Kansas State, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Purdue, Indiana, Missouri and now Arkansas all hoping to add him to their programs.
But last week provided another glimpse at the L.C. standout’s football potential. A day before his now former teammate and Iowa recruit Logan Jones participated in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Fidone took part in the National Combine in the same city, an event which features the top underclassmen in the country. It’s similar to the NFL combine. Fidone ran a 40-yard dash and participated in power push-ups, broad jump, three-cone drill and 1-on-1s. His performance stood out enough for him to be named to 247 Sports’ All-Combine team.
In referencing Fidone, 247 Sports said, “Fidone was our top tight end on the day. A tall, athletic target who ran in the 4.7 range on a slow track earlier in the day, Fidone transferred that speed over to the field. One of his highlight plays came on a diving catch on an out route in 1-on-1’s.”
Fidone was invited to the National Combine two months ago. He trained while balancing school and practice for an upcoming basketball season. That’s nothing new for the L.C. standout who routinely texted Duggan and his quarterback this past season, Bret Kobes, to hit the field to get to work.
Fidone already had a growing profile prior to last week’s combine, but it will continue to blossom after a solid performance there. He continuously credits the Lewis Central coaching staff, led by head coach Justin Kammrad, for helping him grow as a player.
“Coach Kammrad is a genius when it comes to football and just the whole process of what you need to do to become a better player,” Fidone said. “Logan and I talk about it all the time. We’re not a flashy school. We don’t train flashy, we don’t post all of our stuff. We’re kind of a low-key school, but we work our butts off in the dark. … And we’re surrounded by great coaches.”
The work will continue for Fidone, and he embraces it. He has a goal of taking part this summer in The Opening, a football camp that features the best of the best high school players from around the country.
For now, he wants to control what he can control, like working daily to make sure 50-50 balls turn into catches more often than incompletions during his senior season.
He also knows that his offers from multiple, tradition-rich football schools do not translate into accomplished goals.
“I think when kids start getting offers, they start to slack off and think they made it,” Fidone said. “I think that’s the biggest problem that kids have now. That’s one area where I’m doing well is not slacking off and not being complacent. I’m just trying to keep working and getting better at what I can do.”