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Booker T. linebacker Matthew Thomas likes UM's depth chart situation, but FSU appears to have inside track

Booker T. Washington senior Matthew Thomas showed up to school Wednesday wearing a Hurricanes hat.

Matthew ThomasThat shouldn't surprise anyone when you consider the 6-4, 210-pound outside linebacker grew up rooting for the Hurricanes and idolizing Ray Lewis.

"But just because you like a team doesn't mean you should go play for them," Thomas is quick to point out. "You got to average everything out, weigh your options and see what is best for you and your family."

Truth is, the Florida State Seminoles appear have the inside track on Miami-Dade's top 2013 recruit. Thomas has an older brother, Jonathan, who goes to school in Tallahassee. He also has grown extremely tight with FSU assistant coach James Coley (a Miami native). Coley is also close friends with Booker T. coach Tim "Ice" Harris, whom Al Golden has maintained a good relationship with even though he didn't ask Harris to stick around at UM when he took over for Randy Shannon.

Are the Hurricanes completely out of it for Thomas? "No. Not in the least," he says.

Thomas said Wednesday UM and FSU are his top two schools with Alabama a close third (he likes their depth chart situation). But a big win by Florida State Saturday night (the Seminoles are three touchdown favorites) could go a long way in further pushing Thomas towards Tallahassee. Same with a lot of other local 2013 and 2014 recruits, whom the Seminoles have been hot and heavy on for awhile, and will be at Sun Life Stadium to watch Saturday's game in person.

"To be honest, Miami is in good shape as far as recruiting me," Thomas said. "I got a good relationship with Coach Barrow. He keeps it straightforward, keeps it real. He talks about how things are going to benefit me and how he can help me because he's been through it himself and done it.

"I could see myself in their plans and stuff. Coach Barrow talks a lot about how he needs linebackers and how some of their linebackers have been injured and how they've got a walk-on playing. He said I can come in and compete for a job right away. I think honestly the best place for me to play early is Miami. FSU's got a couple guys that are leaving and they got a couple guys committed at my same position, so that's a little bit of a drawback. But this is also more than just about playing time. I want to win a national championship. Everybody does, and right now Alabama seems like the best place for that."

Thomas said his mother, who works as a housekeeper, wants him to stay close to home. His father, whom he doesn't live with, is also pushing the Hurricanes. But the fact Thomas has a brother living in Tallahassee makes him feel comfortable about leaving home, too.

"We talk about going to Florida State, doing stuff together," Thomas said. "They definitely got a lot of love for me up there."

Do the pending NCAA sanctions at Miami play a factor for Thomas at all?

"Yeah I think about it," Thomas said. "People talk about it. But the stuff that happened, it's going to fly by. They're still going to be the University of Miami. If they got some stuff taken away from them, they'll eventually come back. So I'm not too much worried about it."

Thomas, who says he doesn't plan to make his announcement until National Signing Day, said what he plans on paying attention to Saturday night is how both teams respond to adversity and how coaches really utilize their players in schemes.

"In the end, what's going to matter most is how comfortable I really am with the coaches," Thomas said. "I'd also like to play right away and get my full experience of college as much as I can. So those two things."

> Thomas' teammate Denver Kirkland, also a high priority for UM and FSU, said he also is excited about attending Saturday's game at Sun Life Stadium. Kirkland, a 6-4, 330-pound right tackle and excellent run blocker, said he and many of his 2014 Booker T. teammates -- QB Treon Harris, WR Lamar Parker -- will be at the game.

"FSU is a great program, great football team. They just catch my attention in different ways," Kirkland said. "Miami is just a regular school I grew up off of. I saw a lot of great players come out of there."

Kirkland, who said he has a 2.9 GPA and scored a 22 on the ACT, said his other finalists are Ole Miss, USC, West Virginia and South Florida.

"Matthew and I are trying to go to the same school, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen," he said.

FSU INFILTRATION

If you look at it, it's pretty remarkable what the Seminoles are doing in South Florida in terms of recruiting over the next two years. Not only are they in hard on Thomas and Kirkland, but they've already got the No. 1-ranked player in Dade in the Class of 2014 Miami Central running back Joseph Yearby all wrapped up.

FSU, which already has three Top 25 commitments from Dade and Broward as part of its 2013 class (Chaminade CB Adrian Baker, Booker T. CB Michael Johnson and Columbus WR Jesus Wilson -- UM didn't offer any), is also hot and heavy on at least three South Florida-area UM commitments according to Chris Nee, who covers FSU and statewide recruiting for 247sports.com.

Those players are: South Plantation star running back Alex Collins, Miami Northwestern safety Artie Burns and Delray Beach Atlantic defensive tackle Keith Bryant. FSU had Collins up on official visit last weekend according to Nee. They are working on getting Bryant up for an official visit as well, Nee said.

Of course there are also quite a few uncommitted seniors and underclassmen FSU is also trying to impress like Oakland Park Northeast receiver Stacy Coley. Coley and Collins are ranked No. 2 and No. 3 among the senior class in Broward by The Miami Herald. Kirkland is ranked fourth in Dade, teammate Michael Johnson (FSU commitment) is sixth and Burns is the seventh-ranked senior in Dade.

FSU's 2014 class also includes Coral Reef receiver Jacob McCrary (No. 4), Northwestern two-way star JoJo Robinson (No. 7) and South Dade receiver C.J. Warton (No. 8). The Semionles are also pushing hard for top juniors Ermon Lane (No. 3), a standout receiver at Homestead, Booker T. defensive end Chad Thomas (No. 6) and UM commitment Trevor Darling, a 6-5, 300-pound offensive tackle from Miami Central who is rated the 10th-best junior in Dade.

"FSU knows the importance of recruiting down here," said Charles Fishbein of South Florida-based Elite Scouting Services. "Just look at their roster now. Half their secondary -- Xavier Rhodes (Norland) and Lamarcus Joyner (Aquinas) -- are from down here. Their top two receivers -- Rashad Greene (Aquinas) and Rodney Smith (Archbishop Carroll) -- are too. If Miami were to lose out on some of those kids here in their backyard like Collins, Thomas, Kirkland it would definitely hurt them."

Comments

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Nice FSU fluff piece, Manny.

Looks like this should of been a post to a seminole blog.what about recruitslooking at us come on.

Have to say Manny that you may want to switch to the FSU blog after this piece for FSU.
Between this and your timing with the Pee Wee artcle no Cane fan on here would care.

Just noticed there is no FSU blog. How about a new job.

I like the part about when he says it's important to feel 'comfortable" with the coaches: Keep "Bam Bam" Barrow in his face. Do not let this kid meet Dunnotoday-Dunnotommorrow-DunnoEver.

If he comes to UM, think about it: Perryman, Cain, Johnson, Paul, that's it right there. U got to start going after some good defensive secondary people.

Here's a reason Chief Ascehola. A Education for when his playing days are over.
IT'S GREAT TO BE A MIAMI HURRICANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well what do you know there is another reason.

He can get an education up here also. After his NFL career, (not going to happen with U) he can do anything he wants. Look a our defense, then yours. We are top 15, you WORST IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL. The only education anyone gets in coral gables these days, IS IN HUMILITY.

Hey Chief: Now wait a minute: Give DunnoToday-DunnoTomorrow-DunnoEver A LITTLE credit. UM is not last in D in D-1.

Trying to get a job in Tallahassee, Manny? This is disgraceful. Have a little pride.

how many fsu and florida players got drafted last year?miami had more than fsu and florida combined last year.

What blog is this????????

Let's forget the fact that he wrote the article and focus on the content. I've fine with the occasional player getting away but it look as though they are hitting on players from all schools not just those in Palm Beach and Broward. Pick it up, Al.

Johnson and Baker? Ya great gets right, lol

I liked this piece, its true. We are starting to lose recruiting battles in our own backyard. That has way more to do with our issues than any coordinator.

Wait till signing day, before you crown anybody. Last year, we closed on Bush, Howard, Blue, and Hamilton. Those 4 were predicted to sign with other teams.

What a surprise our local "so-called" paper writing another anti-cane piece...does this happen anywhere else? GTFOH

If you guys don't want to know about what's happening don't read the posts, and be surprise if the go elsewhere. There is no sense in shooting the messenger.

Bring Back Dan Morgan, Ray Lewis and with DNO we will still get blown away!!!

Wow Manny,

One thing I am so surprised is how in the Heck you reporters at the Herald and Sun Sentinel continue to tear down your Home University.

There is no way you would be allowed to work for the Gainesville sun Or Tallahasse Democrat would allow you reporters to sabotage your Home Univeristy.

I have lost all respect for you and the other reporters who continue to sabotage your Home Schools and It does not surprise me that your Editor probably graduated from FSU or Fla.

Hey Manny, next time please remove FSU's nuts from your mouth when you talk Canes. Thanks.

He talks to the the recruits, how many have you talked to. Manny is a columnist and expresses his opinions on this column. That's what a columnist does. And if your opinion is different, or you have better information, hey go write ahead and write it. A newspaper doesn't have to be a cheerleader for a team, they just report the news or express opinion. Get your head out of the sand.

Reality!

It is a 2 Game Season...Beat VT and Duke...ACC Coastal Champs...That would be a very big deal!

Duke has the most challenging schedule to get to the ACC Title Game.

Duke has NC, FSU, Clemson, GT, and UM. I think they lose to FSU & Clemson that would give them 3 Loses going into game with us if they were to beat NC & GT. It makes for a must UM win.

VT has the most favorable schedule to the ACC Title Game.

VT has @Clemson, @UM, FSU, @BC and UVA. UM needs to beat VT, and a VT Loss to Clemson or FSU.

That is the way I see it has to happen.

A UM win vs FSU would be great, but it is not needed to get to the ACC Title Game. USF does not matter either for the ACC Title Game.

FSU & USF are for bragging rights and recruiting. At this point, I think UM only gets the kids how want to be Canes. I do not think they are going to get any kids who dont care about being a Cane.

Quite frankly, I dont think any of us want kids who care less who they play for...

BTW, an ACC Title Game wold be the UM Bowl Game...

If UM were to win the ACC Title Game, and earn a BCS Game, I think they would still self impose on that to show the NCAA they gave up the big time in hopes of a lesser penalty from the NCAA.

With that being said, I am not sure this UM Team is ready yet for a BCS Game. I feel they are moving in that direction, but they are not there yet. I am not sure they get there with 5 or 6 more games this year.

Go Canes!

SMH, BTW if he doesn't talk to them where do the recruit's quotes come from.

idiots. embarrassing. all a recruit has to do is read most of your comments and that will solidify their decision to...ANYWHERE else.

Come on Manny..It really sounds like your nose is up the semiholes bro! I though you were a Cane blogger?

I've had my share of criticism of the play this year but its a no brainer where any kid that wants a good education AND a path to the NFL should go ..... The U.
It's a no-brainer.

Until UM get the stench of not blocking and tackling playing soft and not being physical off the campus. Then they can go after the big time talent in south Florida. These recruits are not dumb. They see that half the players on the team are competing while the other half are going threw the motion. Keys to winning the game 1.Run the ball 2. Ball control passing 3.Special teams(they killed us last year) and 4.TACKLE,TACKLE and GANG TACKLE. 18pt dogs should be all the motivation they need. Go Canes!!!

Miami has about 10 more players in the NFL than the semien holes. Despite the last few seaons.

FSU will always be Miamis bridemaid. Always.

Will never play in the NFL? Chief ass ee ola? You better check your facts, son.

Not to mention comparing the educations hell get at FSu with Miami is like comparing MIT and Miami dade.

But despite bobby bowden and now jimbo fisher, etc etc, the U has moe players in the NFL and more ships. Even the last ship that FSU played in was undeserved and Miami should have played for it. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it.

South Florida media is the worst of the worst.

The Herald staff seem to enjoy annoying Cane fans. I agree, in other towns, writing for the local university as they do about Miami, they would be run out of town. I know that would happen right here where I live. The sports editor would not allow it. Maybe the Herald sports editor is an FSU grad, or even worse, well, you know, and these journalist pretenders are just simply taking orders.

@5>3>2- Thats exactly how many yards we will have. good prediction, for a scUm bag

SMH, are you stupid or what. Newspapers are not in any way public relations employee of a University, they report the news, whether it is adverse to the school or not. Like it or hot that's the way it is. Where the hell did you get your journalism degree. Also there lots of website that do talk to recruits, but Manny is local, he's available to them much more than Rivals or Scout or any other site period. He has his boots on U of Miami grounds unlike any of the websites you may mention. Reporting the news is what a newspaper does whether you like what is written or not. Buy the Sun Sentinel, oh they had a similar story earlier in the week, sorry.

Eddie, another one who thinks he's got a journalism degree.

Manny, I thought the Story was very much in favor of FSU as well.

I will give you a shout out for the story for one reason and one reason only...

It got most all the negative away from the Coaches and Players and on to you!

I rather read about how everyone is all pissed off at you than about all the BS Arm Chair & Couch Potato Coaching they do.

I am going to bet 90% never played past High School.

I played from the time I was 5 years old all the way thru College.

I was not big enough to play at UM, but I palyed with and against most all the guys that were on that Historical '83 NC Team...

My blood runs Orange & Green...I am a fan, I have played, and I tell you, this Team is finally close!

The U will be back...it will not be this year...it might be next year...but The U will be back.

Let's stay positive about our player and our Coaches. They are doing the best they can with what they have to work with.

We are a better Team this year than we were last year. We lost most all of out best players to graduation or to the NFL early...and we still have a great shot at the ACC Coastal!

Go Canes!

Mike are U facking retarded or what.. Do you honestly think a Tuscaloosa news paper would allow ANY negative press about Bama... Stop

When Navarro isn't writing Cane hit pieces, he's dry humping and slobbering all over FSU. Let's not forget he was also blathering on about how FIU was going to be a real problem for the Canes.

WOw somebody deleted every post about how slow Manny is for slurping up FSU... LOL who cares Manny is still a clown perpetrating as a sports writer.

Hey guys. I understand some of your frustration because the blog talks about how well the Seminoles are doing in South Florida. But the truth is the truth. I spoke to several recruiting analysts this week who all told me FSU has been doing a great job down here putting themselves in position to take not only some of the top uncommitted kids in the area, but also a few UM commitments -- Alex Collins, Trevon Darling, Keith Bryant, Artie Burns, etc. Look, I've covered recruiting for many years down here. I know a lot of schools across the country come down here and get local players. Miami can't get everyone. But the fact FSU could potentially come in here and scoop up the top player in Miami-Dade in 2013 and 2014 and several other top-end talent in the county is noteworthy. No Miami didn't really go after the 3 2013 players FSU already has as commitments from down here. But the Canes certainly want Matthew Thomas and Denver Kirkland and they certainly don't want FSU or another schools to take who they already got committed. Look, FSU has four of the top eight juniors in Dade already committed to them. Lets assume the show was on the other foot for a second. What if Miami had four of the top 8 players in Tallahassee committed would that not be noteworthy? Again, it's FSU week. I'm writing a recruiting story that works for both teams. Like it or not, this is a story.

You're a cane hater....you write as if kids committed to UM are going to flip....and take for granted comments from Thomas and Kirkland about UM. How about using Golden's track record as a guide of what to expect. Didn't he close on Howard, Hamilton, tons of guys last year. Plus these kids are from a UM pipeline, yet you write about FSU recruiting success...which hey, hasn't happened yet. Btw, the 4 guys from 2014...ask them if UM offered. Again, you act like FSU came in here and took kids UM wants. The only guy you may be able to say that about is Yearby, and word is UM isn't very high on him. They like Cooke better.

You wrote an FSU recruiting puff piece...and guess what, you know who decides news? You're readers, or ex-reader as it were. We decide, and when you aren't getting clicks I hope you know why. I don't frequent UM blogs that bash UM in favor of their rival. Cya.

Yeah let's all just write and read Pro-UM stuff so in a couple of years when we're still 6-6 we'll all be like 'Man, I didn't see this coming! Everything I've read about us over the past couple of years has been GREAT!"

Get real. If we're losing recruits, I want to hear about it. You all are morons.

Thomas said what he plans on paying attention to Saturday night is how both teams respond to adversity and how coaches really utilize their players in schemes.
...
Since D'Onofrio has no defensive scheme, Thomas is unlikely to be impressed.

AYO MANNY

If you're really trying to report a story that's regarding both teams, then you should write about how FSU keeps rescinding offers. They're offering numerous potential prospects, but they're not accepting all of their commitments, e.g. Mac alexander. I'm hearing they're moving Jesus WIlson to DB, even though they promised that he would playing WR. I guess now they have room for Coley.

It's not writing "the truth". It's not about journalism, because it is obvious.

It's the timing of this garbage article.

To write a heavy pro-FSU article when FSU is coming to town is near sighted, it's self-promoting, it's sensationalistic, and ignores the majority of the readers, who come onto this column, whioch by the way is a MIAMI blog NOT an SFU blog (yeah I wrote SFU). Its a cheerledaing blog for seminole recruiting. period. So Navarro wriutes this column and basically says tohimself, to h-ll with the 1 million plus Miami fans in DAde-Broward Palm Beach-Monroe. I'm going to write about FSU infiltrating this area. And about how a kid is rather going to FSU.

So next year when UF comes to town, are youpreparing the gator blog, Manny?

And its not about being a cheerleader for the canes. It was not necessary to write this column. period.

And chief Ass-he-hole-a: You are the s-cumbag, my toothless friend. You and your chanting chopping "We are ranked in the top ten year in and year out yet we choke on our on saliva year in year out siemn holes"

Why would any recruit want to go to that north florida -south georgia dump?

It will always be 5>2 for you noles. Havent you realized it by now? I mean you cant even beat NC state and youre hear talking crape?

Why should any good recruit go to Miami as long as the U still employs shallalaaala, golden and d'o, a prevent defense that only prevents winning?????

3 down linemen and LBs 5 yards off the LOS which defies the laws of physics to stop runs off tackle and end runs for less than 5 or 6 yards?

zone pass lack of defense which allows other teams receivers to sit in open areas until their QB sets his feet, draws a bead and fires a completion?

If you want to win football games, don't bother coming to Miami as long as golden and d'o are screwing up the once great Miami defense that existed from Schnell to Butch.

Gaytorhater, yeah keep your head in the sand. Let's see who broke Reggie Bushgate, why it was the LA Time, and The Orange County Register, Who broke FSU's shoegate, why it was Tallahassee Democrat, The Gainesville Sun still publishes the many transgressions and arrests of the Gators. That's what newspapers do. As far as whatever newspaper is in Tuscaloosa, well there's a difference between living there and Miami, LA, and even Tallahassee. Even the Independent Alligator publishes stories that aren't complimentary to UF. You guys sound like little boys that don't know the function of a newspaper. If you don't like what they write, don't read it and remain stupid.

Oh BTW Reggie Bushgate was kept alive by the Times for 5 years.

CaneFan'72, it's not a prevent defense, it's a 3-4 and I've tried to educate you about it and others on this site have too. You're just too thick to understand the type of defense the U plays. Because of their youth they have to play the style they play because the kids are so young. BTW Schellenberger played a 3-4 with zone concepts. He did pretty good playing that style. Try to learn.....PLEASE...Jim Burt was the nose tackle on the National Championship team.

He can get an education up here also. After his NFL career, (not going to happen with U) he can do anything he wants. Look a our defense, then yours. We are top 15, you WORST IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL. The only education anyone gets in coral gables these days, IS IN HUMILITY.

Posted by: CHIEFOSCEOLA | October 18, 2012 at 06:40 PM

You have 5 seniors on your defense homer.

And 5 juniors and 1 sophomore.

We have 1 senior, 2 juniors, 5 sophomores and 3 freshmen.

Sooo, it would make sense for a recruit to look hard at FSU. You're losing 5 on that defense that start...

Damn, some people just aren't logical.

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