Alabama Crimson Tide: Matthew Thomas

Official Visit: Thomas’ trouble; AU heats up

May, 8, 2013
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NoleNation’s Corey Dowlar talks with Phil Murphy about the latest in Florida State 2013 signee Matthew Thomas' saga, and TideNation's Greg Ostendorf stops by to talk about the impending decisions of ESPN 150 recruits Tre’ Williams and Justin Thornton.

NSD TV announcement schedule

January, 31, 2013
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National signing day is just around the corner on Feb. 6. That day, a number of the nation’s top football recruits will announce their college destinations and 18 ESPN 300 prospects are scheduled to do so on ESPNU.

Below is the full schedule of announcements on ESPNU, which kicks off with the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, Robert Nkemdiche, making his long-awaited decision at 7:30 a.m. ET.

Note: All times are Eastern

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- On Monday, the University of Alabama picked up commitment No. 21 for the class of 2013 when ESPN 150 defensive end Tim Williams committed to the Crimson Tide following his official visit to Tuscaloosa this past weekend.

With the latest addition, this year’s class is beginning to fill up fast with just a few precious spots still available. This week’s O-zone takes a look at the remaining targets, who Alabama will likely finish with and which top recruits will be on campus this weekend as the Tide celebrate their latest national championship.

Weekend Rewind: Alabama 

January, 14, 2013
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- As signing day approaches, every weekend looms large. It gives the schools a chance to host recruits one last time. The University of Alabama enjoyed a bigger weekend than most as it hosted an impressive group of official visitors that included 10 players ranked in the ESPN 150.


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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- On Wednesday, seven recruits enrolled early at the University of Alabama, nine if you include walk-on quarterback Luke Del Rio and converted baseball player Jai Miller, but one player was significantly absent -- ESPN 150 defensive end DeMarcus Walker.

Walker committed to the Crimson Tide in August, and his plan was to leave for Tuscaloosa the day after the BCS Championship Game where he would enroll early. However, he flipped his pledge to Florida State immediately after the game, following former UA assistant coach Jeremy Pruitt to Tallahassee. He arrived on FSU’s campus Tuesday.

With Walker no longer a part of the class, Alabama will look to replace him and add at least one, if not two elite defensive linemen. This week’s O-zone breaks down potential options along the defensive line and also takes a look at who's all visiting the Capstone this weekend.

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No. 1 OLB gears up for decision 

January, 9, 2013
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- There might have been more explosive plays that resulted in points during the Under Armour All-America Game, but Matthew Thomas' (Miami/Booker T. Washington) hit on Michigan commitment Shane Morris (Warren, Mich./De La Salle Collegiate) made the biggest impact.

Morris took off with the ball under his arm looking for space.


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Hackenberg, Olsen earn UA Game starts

January, 3, 2013
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Black Team offense

Quarterback: Christian Hackenberg (Penn State)

Running back: Alvin Kamara

Receiver: Alvin Bailey (Florida), Robert Foster (Alabama), Damore'ea Stringfellow (Washington)

Tight end: O.J. Howard (Alabama)

Offensive tackle: Darius James (Texas), Denver Kirkland

Offensive guard: Grant Hill (Alabama), Joas Aguilar (Texas A&M)

Center: Hunter Bivin (Notre Dame)

Captains: Kelvin Taylor, Hunter Bivin, Robert Nkemdiche, Ben Boulware

Black Team defense

Defensive end: Robert Nkemdiche, Elijah Daniel

Defensive tackle: Greg Gilgmore (LSU), Kennedy Tulimasealii (Hawaii)

Inside linebacker: Ben Boulware (Clemson)

Outside linebacker: Alex Anzalone (Notre Dame), Matthew Thomas

Safety: Keanu Neal (Florida), Leon McQuay III

Cornerback: Vernon Hargreaves III (Florida), Tarean Folston (Notre Dame)

Black Team special teams

Long snapper: Tyler Kluver (Iowa)

Kicker/punter: Sean Covington (UCLA)

(Read full post)

Title in hand, LB Thomas sets visits 

January, 2, 2013
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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.


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Same three at top for 5-star LB Thomas 

November, 15, 2012
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Don’t talk with five-star linebacker Matthew Thomas (Miami, Fla./Booker T. Washington) too much about recruiting right now.

It’s playoff time and the 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior does not want to think about anything else.

"I really haven’t put much thought in recruiting lately," Thomas said. "I have been to a few games this season but I was just going to check out the games. I’ve been trying to just focus on the team."

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Matthew Thomas (Miami/Booker T. Washington) recently named Florida State his leader, and as he arrived Friday at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for the Champion Gridiron Kings event, his recruitment remains unchanged.

"I am still open, but Florida State is still my leader," Thomas said. "They told me I could come in and compete for a starting job my freshman year. After them it is Alabama, Georgia, USC and Miami."


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Alabama recruiting writer Greg Ostendorf and beat writer Alex Scarborough bring you another edition of The TideNation mailbag, answering your questions about recruiting, football and basketball.

Demarcus Walker
Tom Hauck/ESPNHSESPN 150 DE/LB Demarcus Walker is closing in on a decision, and it might be Alabama.
@HighTide_14 asks: How will Bama finish up their class? Who do you think they get?
Ostendorf: With 18 commitments already on board, Alabama is running out of room in its 2013 class. I’ll focus on the ESPN 150 prospects who are still considering the Crimson Tide. I think they are in great shape to land defensive end/linebacker Demarcus Walker and running back Derrick Henry. Both could announce their intentions in the next month. The biggest name still out there is offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. Originally, most thought he wouldn’t leave the state of Florida, but Alabama made up a lot of ground on his last visit and now has a legitimate shot to land the five-star. The Tide could also pull a top linebacker, Kendell Beckwith or Matthew Thomas, or Pa. wide receiver Robert Foster in this class.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- ESPN 150 linebacker Matthew Thomas (Miami/Booker T. Washington) knows he should be thinking about his recruitment while camping at Florida State on a muggy Thursday morning.

[+] EnlargeMatthew Thomas
Corey Long, ESPN RecruitingNationESPN 150 LB Matthew Thomas (Miami/Booker T. Washington) says last year's state-title-game loss motivates him during camp season.
But the 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior still can't get December out of his mind. Some of his teammates, many of whom took the trip to FSU with him, have moved on and tried to focus on the future.

For Thomas, however, a loss to Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles in the Class 4A state championship still stings hard. For three quarters, Thomas was clearly the best player on the field -- flying to the football, blocking a punt, forcing two fumbles and recording three tackles for loss. But something happened in the fourth quarter. Booker T. Washington took its foot off the pedal and Bolles capitalized to turn a 25-13 deficit into a 33-25 victory. Thomas is still shocked by what happened.

That's why Thomas, the No. 13 prospect in the nation who said at The Opening his two top schools are Alabama and Florida State, is sweating through Jimbo Fisher Camp in mid-July while many of the nation's other top prospects have shut things down for a few weeks. Thomas doesn't want to take anything for granted. Not on the field, not in recruiting, not in life.

Read the full story here.

2013 Breakdown: Linebackers 

July, 16, 2012
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The strength of the University of Alabama’s 2012 recruiting class was at the linebacker position. The Crimson Tide signed five linebackers in the class, four ranked in the ESPN 150, but before it ever inked the 2012 class, the UA coaching staff landed the top linebacker in 2013, Reuben Foster. The nation’s No. 2 prospect committed to Alabama last summer at the Tide’s camp, but it wouldn’t stick. Last week, Foster flipped his commitment to Auburn, leaving Alabama searching for a linebacker in this year’s class. The position is not a priority for the Tide because of the talent they brought in last year, but they would like to add depth this year. At this point, Alabama has one commitment from Jonathan Allen, who is expected to play Jack linebacker when he gets to Tuscaloosa.

Reuben Foster
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comWith Reuben Foster committed to Auburn, the Tide are focusing on other highly talented linebackers.
Jonathan Allen - Ashburn, Va.

Allen, the lone commitment at linebacker, has gone a bit under the radar for an ESPN 150 recruit. He committed to Alabama in May, choosing the Tide over the Florida Gators, and since then, there hasn’t been much fanfare. Listed as a defensive end, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound prospect is at his best when he’s rushing the quarterback, and that’s why the UA coaching staff likes him at the Jack linebacker position. He may be somewhat undersized for now, but he has the frame to add mass and shouldn’t have any trouble doing so when he gets into Alabama’s weight program. Allen has the potential to blossom into a dynamic pass-rusher for the Tide.

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