If you haven't had a chance to check out the reporting done by Manny Navarro earlier today on Booker T. Washington LB Matthew Thomas asking for his release from FSU, read it here.
One facet of Thomas' request that didn't get a lot of attention in Navarro's write-up was the departure of one of the key cogs in Thomas' recruitment to Florida State, offensive assistant James Coley.
In recruiting, you're not always recruited by your positional coach in college, oftentimes knowledge of a community or geographic area dictates which coaches will pursue which players. When Coley departed Florida State it was a coup for the University of Miami because of the strong south Florida ties the Hurricanes were gaining.
Not only did Miami get one of the best South Florida recruiters in the nation, they did it at the expense of one of their rivals. Coley was a closer at Florida State.
You saw the first signs of the impact on National signing day when Stacy Coley (no relation)- a player many figured was destined for Tallahassee- opted to stay home and sign with the U.
James Coley also helped recruit Matthew Thomas.
Behind a strong sales pitch from the former FSU Offensive Coordinator- and coupled with the fact his brother is at FSU- Thomas made a last-minute decision to sign with the Seminoles in February.
But when he came to campus for a visit, things felt different.
"I always had [FSU] high because of the recruiting situation. Coach Coley. My brother was up there," Thomas said. "But when I got up there I saw it wasn't for me."
Translation: The person Thomas built the closest relationship with at the school was now gone and he wasn't sure he'd made the right decision.
It was an interesting combination of factors that got the 6-3 205-pound LB to this situation. He was still undecided come national signing day but a scheduled TV appearance on ESPN had set a deadline and he had to make a call. His mother liked FSU, time was running out, so he signed.
Then he had time to think about it and the doubts started to creep in.
Now keep in mind this is still a young man, a teenager. Nobody is especially decisive at that age. But Thomas seems very certain he doesn't want to be at FSU. He told Jimbo Fisher he has no intentions to report when that day comes and he wants a full release- though at this point he has yet to hire a lawyer.
He cannot go to Miami (not that he was ever that high on the U to begin with). FSU has the right to decide whether to release him at all and also where he can transfer without penalty. He wants to go to Georgia or USC. Being that both of those schools are in other conferences in other states, that could potentially happen.
But the Seminoles aren't going to just give up without a fight either. FSU intends to try and come to South Florida to smooth things over. If anyone in their athletic department comments I'll update you with it here, but for now, this is a pretty bizarre situation and it may still get weirder.
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(Special Thanks to Manny Navarro for additional quotes)