Matthew Thomas Wins State Championship, Turns Focus on Recruiting

By Taylor Johnson
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Not only is Matthew Thomas a five-star recruit, but some consider him the best OLB in the 2013 class. Now you can add a state champion to his long list of accolades.

Thomas and the rest of the Booker T. Washington squad defeated Bolles 35-7 Saturday night, avenging a state championship loss one year ago against the same team. With the goal of a state championship out of the way, Thomas now turns his focus on recruiting.

The highly recruited linebacker out of Miami, FL has many top programs after him and understandably so, finishing the season with 10.5 sacks and 79 tackles.

Thomas waited until the end of the season to start to take his official visits. On January 11 Thomas is scheduled to visit the Alabama Crimson Tide, with the Georgia Bulldogs, Florida State Seminoles, Florida Gators and USC Trojans all looking to host the Under Armour All-American. The Miami Hurricanes are also in the running, but with Thomas living in the city and being able to visit whenever he wants, there is no need to take an official to the campus.

And now the million dollar question is just where will Thomas end up? As of now, the Seminoles look to be the leader in the clubhouse, but with the departure of former defensive coordinator Mark Stoops becoming the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats it throws a wrench into everything.

The Hurricanes would have been an easy answer as well, but the the team self-imposing a bowl ban for a second straight year and NCAA still investigating allegations that a booster gave players and recruits gifts and money, it’s hard to tell just exactly what sanctions would be handed down and what affect that has on the program’s future. With the Hurricanes banning themselves from post season play it certainly could soften the blow from the NCAA.

But does Thomas want to wait around for a decision? As everyone knows the NCAA works in mysterious ways and penalties handed down to the program could certainly hinder Thomas’ ability to play for a conference championship or more.

The Tide, Gators, Bulldogs and Trojans (who just now got off their own post season ban as well) are all schools that have plenty to offer Thomas. I would be on edge if I were the Seminoles. Being the leader in the clubhouse is nice, but when you have some stellar programs after your prize possession you can’t help but be a tad nervous.


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