Title in hand, LB Thomas sets USC visit

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Five-star linebacker Matthew Thomas (Miami, Fla./Booker T. Washington) said he wanted to win a state championship before he would deal with his recruitment.

Last month he led Booker T. Washington to the Class 4A state title and now he’s ready to get down to business in preparations for a signing day decision.

“It felt good to win state,” Thomas said. It was the main goal from the beginning of the season and it feels good to accomplish your goals, especially after coming up short the year before.

“So now the shift has turned to recruiting and everything’s happening at once.”

Four of Thomas’ visits are set. He will visit Alabama on Jan. 11 and spend the following three weekends at USC, Florida State and Georgia in that order.

An official visit to Miami will likely happen during the middle of the week.

“I think I will go to Miami between the 2nd and 3rd weekend of January,” Thomas added.

Thomas said several things will factor into his decision including his family and his relationship with the coaching staffs at each respective program.

“My mom is definitely an influence and it’s important that she feels comfortable with the coaches that are recruiting me,” Thomas said. “I probably have the closest relationship with Jimbo Fisher in terms of the head coaches. I like him a lot.

“FSU just got a new defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt, and I think he’s a good addition to the staff.”

Thomas says there’s plenty of local pressure to attend Miami and the Hurricanes are near the top of his list. However, he’s not going to cave into to any pressure.

“I hear what everyone around here is saying and you just have to look past it,” Thomas said. “I’ve liked Miami and USC growing up and I’m considering both programs. Miami is right there and USC is across the country but it doesn’t matter because I can play anywhere.

Thomas’ love for SEC football is evident with the decision to visit Alabama and Georgia. He recently ran into Alabama freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper working out in Miami.

“We caught up for a few minutes and he asked me when I was taking my trip,” Thomas said. “Amari is pretty quiet, he lets his play do the talking and he had a great season.”

Georgia is the program that’s come on the strongest as of late. Some of the credit for the Bulldogs late surge comes from a good relationship built up with assistant coach Scott Lakatos.

“My dad wanted me to check out Georgia because he thinks it’s a good school and I have a lot of family in Georgia,” Thomas said. “Coach Lakatos is a great guy, my mom really liked him when he came to visit. I know it’s a good academic school too.”