University of Miami

Wide receiver Jeff Thomas to enroll at Illinois after flirtation with Miami, report says

UM quarterback N’Kosi Perry talks about WR Jeff Thomas

Miami Hurricanes quarterback N'Kosi Perry talks about WR Jeff Thomas
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Miami Hurricanes quarterback N'Kosi Perry talks about WR Jeff Thomas

Jeff Thomas will be joining the Illinois Fighting Illini after all.

After a few days of discussion about a potential return to the Miami Hurricanes, Thomas on Monday told The News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois, he is still set to join the Fighting Illini for the 2019 season. The wide receiver, who was kicked off the Miami team before the regular-season finale in 2018, said he could begin classes Tuesday in Champaign.

“I’m on my way now,” said Thomas, a native of East St. Louis, Illinois. “I’m really excited to get started at Illinois.”

Thomas arrived in Coral Gables as a top-50 national recruit, according to the composite rankings, and became an immediate contributor. As a freshman in 2017, Thomas played in 13 games, logging 17 catches for 374 yards and two touchdowns. He followed it up with another strong sophomore campaign in 2018 — in 11 games, Thomas caught 35 passes for 563 yards and three touchdowns, plus a 19-yard run — but the Hurricanes booted him from the program before the regular-season finale against the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Last month, the Fighting Illini announced Thomas was transferring to Illinois in a Twitter post during the early signing period.

In the past week, though, Thomas expressed interest in returning to the team, multiple sources told the Miami Herald. With former coach Mark Richt retired and new coach Manny Diaz in place, Thomas had newfound interest in rejoining the team.

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New offensive coordinator Dan Enos confirmed Monday on WQAM that discussions had taken place regarding Thomas’ potential return.

“I think that has come up. I’m not sure where it stands now, but I think, as you mentioned, I think there may be some talks going on,” Enos said on the Joe Rose Show with Zach Krantz. “Certainly, I don’t think there has been any decisions made yet, but I do think there has been some talk, and from what I understand and hear, he’s a very, very talented guy.

“So hopefully that will all work out.”

Thomas, however, contradicted the Herald’s reporting and Enos’ answer.

“Not really,” Thomas said when asked whether he considered returning to Miami. “It was probably because of the post I had deleted off Twitter and Instagram.”

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