Florida State linebacker signee Matthew Thomas from Booker T. Washington High School in Miami is seeking a release from his national letter of intent.
Thomas, ranked the nation’s No. 2 outside linebacker in the 2013 class by Rivals, signed with Florida State on Feb. 6. He had originally planned to sign with Southern California but ultimately chose Florida State after his mother refused to sign off on USC.
“We couldn’t agree, but it’s my mom, I just did what I had to do,” Thomas told Noles247.com at the time.
Thomas has since changed his mind. He told the Miami Herald he recently informed Florida State’s coaching staff that he would like a release so he can sign with Georgia or USC.
Thomas said Florida State’s coaches don’t want to release him and plan to visit Miami soon to try to convince him to stick with the Seminoles. If Thomas chooses to attend another school without a release from Florida State, he would have to sit out one full academic year that would count against his five-year window of eligibility.
Thomas told the Herald he wants out of his letter of intent because he prefers to attend a college outside the state of Florida.
“I’ve been in Miami all my life,” he said. “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.”
Thomas’ situation is the reason I wrote last week that high-profile players should avoid signing a national letter of intent. The letter does very little to help athletes while providing all the power to schools.
A school isn’t even required to guarantee the athlete a spot on the team when he signs the letter of intent. It just agrees to provide financial aid to the athlete.
Thomas could have signed a financial aid agreement with Florida State while leaving himself the flexibility to attend another school. Instead, his future is in the hands of coaches who have the authority to penalize him if he doesn’t attend Florida State.