FOOTBALL

Booker T. Washington star linebacker Matthew Thomas wants release from FSU scholarship

 

Matthew Thomas, saying he signed with FSU under duress in February, is asking coaches to release him so he can sign with Georgia or Southern Cal.

mnavarro@MiamiHerald.com

Booker T. Washington linebacker Matthew Thomas – one of the prized gems in Florida State’s highly-touted recruiting class in February – said Monday he is seeking a release from his scholarship so he can sign with Georgia or Southern California.

Thomas, the No. 1 recruit in Miami-Dade in 2013 and the nation’s No. 2 outside linebacker according to Rivals.com, said he informed FSU coach Jimbo Fisher and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt late last month that he is not planning on reporting to school in the fall and that he hopes the school will allow him to play elsewhere. But Thomas (6-3, 205) said FSU’s coaches do not want to release him and told him last week they’re planning on visiting him in South Florida to try and talk things over.

“I’ve told them it’s nothing personal. I just didn’t make the decision I really wanted to on Signing Day,” said Thomas, who picked the Seminoles over Southern California, Georgia and Miami.

“What happened was on Signing Day [was] I wasn’t sure who I wanted to sign with. I had issues with different schools. But when I told my mom I didn’t want to sign with anybody and wait and give it a few days she said I couldn’t do that. She said, ‘FSU is a good school – pick them. It’s close to home.’ I wasn’t agreeing with it. But I felt like I was being disrespectful to her if I didn’t sign. So I made her happy.”

Thomas said the pressure of having already committed to make his college announcement live on ESPN also made things tougher. He said he has spent the last few months trying to convince himself Florida State was the right choice, but it just hasn’t felt right.

Thomas said his mother and father are now supporting him in his push to be freed from his signed national letter of intent, but ultimately the power rests with Florida State’s staff.

“My dad talked to me and gave me some facts about the situation,” Thomas said. “If I tried to go to a school in FSU’s conference I would have to sit out a couple years. But that’s not what I want to do.

“I’ve been in Miami all my life. Georgia needs linebackers. It’s a big program. I have family in Georgia. USC, growing up I never thought I would have an opportunity that big. I just want to go have fun and play football.”

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