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Making his own evaluation

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Thomas' size/speed combo is unlike any other prospect in the state.

One of the most dynamic football players in the 2013 class is Booker T. Washington’s Matthew Thomas. The 6-foot-3.5, 210-pound linebacker could could attend any school in the country, but as his recruitment has progressed he has narrowed his focus to three; Alabama, Florida State and Miami.

This weekend Thomas will have the unique opportunity to watch two of his top teams face-off.

“Oh yeah, I’m going,” said Thomas of this weekends primetime matchup between Florida State and Miami. “I haven’t seen Miami in person this season. I think it’s going to be a good game. Both teams will be ready to play and they’ll battle it out.”

Last month Thomas saw Florida State play when he took an unofficial visit to South Florida. He had on a USF hat at that game and says he’ll be rooting for Miami this weekend – nothing personal.

“I’m on their sideline so that’s who I’m going for. I got to show them respect, wear UM apparel and everything. I wore a USF hat to the USF and FSU game.”

Thomas plans on taking an official visit to several schools, what will he do with all these hats once he commits to a school?

“I’ll put them all up on the wall and start a collection.”

In June, after the first session of Jimbo Fisher Camp in Tallahassee, Thomas told Noles247 that Florida State was his leader. That has not changed and Thomas has remained in weekly contact with the FSU staff.

5-Star LB Matthew Thomas was in Tampa to see the 'Noles down the Bulls.

“I talked to coach Coley earlier this week. He’s focused. He just said, ‘you’ll see what happens’, that’s all he said about the game.”

For the no.10 prospect ranked nationally, Thomas is using this game as an evaluation tool. This is a chance for him to compare two of his favorite schools.

“I’m looking to see how the atmosphere is for a game like this. I want to see how the coaches and players respond to the pressure of a big game.”

Living in Miami, being one of the top recruits in the country, means that Thomas constantly has people – friends, coaches, family, strangers – in his ear trying to ‘help’ him make a decision. Thomas admits he hears it from all angles, and everyone says their piece on why he should go to school ‘x or y’, but Thomas doesn’t let the noise influence him.

“Once I’ve seen it with my own eyes, nobody can tell me anything. I don’t really listen to anybody. I mean I listen to their opinion, but I weigh it all out myself. I’m looking forward to this, not a lot of people have the opportunity to watch their top two teams play each other.”

The Miami/FSU game is being talked about in more place than just message boards and twitter. Thomas says the entire looker room at Booker T. was talking about the game yesterday.

“I was talking to Mike Johnson (FSU safety commit) and he told me he liked Florida State to win. I told him, ‘we’ll see’. Somebody else said they would give UM 17 points, they were about to bet. A lot of people think FSU is gonna win. Denver (Kirkland) was in the middle talking about how he’d take Miami and the points, he thinks Miami can win it.”

What about 5-Star Matthew Thomas, who is he picking to win on Saturday night?

“On paper, I would take Florida State, they look better. But you can’t go by that. I’m going with UM. I think they pull through. The crowd won’t be quiet, I know that.”


-- Thomas was selected last season as Miami Herald Defensive Player of the Year for 2011. He was also selected for, and will play in, the 2013 Under Armour Game.

-- Thomas has never been to a game in Tallahassee and might not make it this season due to his high school games being on Friday and Saturday night.

“I want to go, I’d like to see how it goes up there. Coach Coley told me how crazy it is and everyone screaming the Warchant.”

-- Thomas plans on taking all of his official visits after the season due to his football schedule.

“We have a lot of night games and Saturday games so it’s hard to get out to schools in my season. I haven’t set anything up yet, but I know I’m going to visit Florida State and Alabama.”

-- Thomas says he probably won’t take an official visit to Miami because he says he can get over there whenever he wants. He will visit there after his season.

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