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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
No. 1 LB casts lot with Noles

By Corey Long

MIAMI -- Matthew Thomas (Miami/Booker T. Washington), the No. 1 linebacker in the nation, chose Florida State on Wednesday morning over Miami and a late push from USC.

"I just felt more comfortable with the staff and the program at FSU over anyplace else," Thomas said. "Everything is there for me to succeed."

The Seminoles were considered the favorite for Thomas despite late pressure to stay home and play for the Hurricanes. He becomes the highest-ranked prospect in FSU's class at No. 6 overall.

What is the impact of Thomas’ decision?

What it means for FSU: The Seminoles hard work over the past two years paid off, and Thomas’ strong relationship with head coach Jimbo Fisher proved to be the difference. FSU can never have too many playmakers on defense. and Thomas is the best at his position nationally. This also keeps FSU strong in South Florida.

What it means for the teams that lost out: Miami had lost ground on FSU throughout the year but many Hurricane fans hoped that the late addition of James Coley would make a difference. The Hurricanes were near the bottom of the nation on defense in 2012 and they were banking on Thomas to be part of the rebuilding on that side of the ball.

Turning point: Thomas took his mother and brother with him on his Jan. 25 official visit and it was there that he felt at home with the players and coaches at FSU

Surprise (scale of 1-5): 2, Thomas had been leaning towards FSU for months, but it’s always a bit of a surprise for the top player in Miami not to play for the Hurricanes.

Immediate impact (scale of 1-5): 5. Most observers fully expect Thomas to be a starter or serious contributor early in his freshman season.