His favorite player is Ray Lewis.
His favorite college team: The Miami Hurricanes.
Miami Booker T. Washington High senior Matthew Thomas, a 6-4, 210-pound outside linebacker considered one of the nations best, plays right down the street from where Al Golden is trying to rebuild The U.
Thomas has seen the help-wanted ads, looked at the depth chart and acknowledges his best opportunity to play right away in college is at Miami. His parents want him to stay close to home. His mother loves former Canes great Micheal Barrow, who has been recruiting Thomas for over a year now.
So why not just pick the Canes, who appear to be a natural fit? Because right now for Thomas and in the eyes of many other top South Florida recruits there is just something sexy about the Florida State Seminoles.
Just because you like a certain team growing up, doesnt mean you should go play for them, said Thomas, who one recruiting analyst said could be the best linebacker to come out of the South Florida area since the late great Derrick Thomas.
Youve got to average everything out, weigh your options and see what is best for you and your family.
Several of the best high school players in Miami-Dade and Broward counties believe the Seminoles might be that best option, and are looking forward to closely analyzing Saturday nights showdown with the Hurricanes in person at Sun Life Stadium.
FSU, which didnt sign a single player from South Florida in 2012, already has three top 25 commitments from Dade and Broward as part of its 2013 class: Chaminade cornerback Adrian Baker, Booker T. cornerback Michael Johnson and Columbus wide receiver Jesus Wilson. The Noles are also hot and heavy on at least three South Florida-area Hurricanes 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 an official visit last weekend, according to Nee.
Of course there are also quite a few uncommitted seniors and underclassmen FSU is trying to impress. Aside from Matthew Thomas, Miami-Dades No. 1-ranked player, the Seminoles are also pushing hard for Booker T. offensive tackle Denver Kirkland (6-4, 330 pounds) and Oakland Park Northeast receiver Stacy Coley. Coley and Collins are ranked No. 2 and No. 3 among the senior class in Broward. Kirkland is ranked fourth in Dade, teammate Michael Johnson (FSU commitment) is sixth and Burns is the seventh-ranked senior in Dade.
FSU has also already gotten off to a great start with the 2014 class. Theyve gotten commitments from Miami Central running back Joseph Yearby, the No. 1 junior in Dade; 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 Seminoles 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. FSUs top two receivers Rashad Greene (Aquinas) and Rodney Smith (Archbishop Carroll) are, too. If Miami were to lose out on some of those top kids here in their backyard like Collins, Thomas, Kirkland, it would definitely hurt them and be huge pickups for FSU.