2013 5* FSU LB Wants Release from Scholarship

Submitted by Marley Nowell on May 6th, 2013 at 6:56 PM


Thomas, the No. 1 recruit in Miami-Dade in 2013 and the nation’s No. 2 outside linebacker according to Rivals.com, said he informed FSU coach Jimbo Fisher and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt late last month that he is not planning on reporting to school in the fall and that he hopes the school will allow him to play elsewhere. But Thomas (6-3, 205) said FSU’s coaches do not want to release him and told him last week they’re planning on visiting him in South Florida to try and talk things over.

“What happened was on Signing Day [was] I wasn’t sure who I wanted to sign with. I had issues with different schools. But when I told my mom I didn’t want to sign with anybody and wait and give it a few days she said I couldn’t do that. She said, ‘FSU is a good school – pick them. It’s close to home.’ I wasn’t agreeing with it. But I felt like I was being disrespectful to her if I didn’t sign. So I made her happy.”


This presents an interesting problem for the FSU coaching staff.  Clearly they want the kid on their team but they can't force him to report.  By holding his scholarship they are essentially wasting a spot.  That matters more for 2014 unless they sign someone like a JUCO recruit.  What are the rules about blocking signed players from transfering to certain schools (he wants to go to UGA or USC) if they never actually use the scholarship they were given?


I Like Burgers

May 6th, 2013 at 7:08 PM ^

This is the laughable part of the LOI.  Technically, its a contract.  You sign it and agree to play for that school, and in return, the school will provide you with a scholarship.  Now, you see cases like LSU a few years ago where the kid has signed a LOI and LSU goes "oops, too many scholarship athletes on campus...peace out kid" and there's nothing the kid can do about it.  Sure he could try and sue the univsersity and try and get his scholarship, but that would take years to go through court, and at the end of it, he just wants to play football and go to college like everyone else.  So he just accepts the cut and hopefully finds a spot elsewhere.

If the recruit, like in Thomas' case, tries to flip the tables, the school can be as big of a dick as they want.  They don't have to provide a release, and they can restrict him from going wherever he wants.  And really, there's not much he can do about it.


May 6th, 2013 at 7:33 PM ^

See, I wish it was enforced on both sides.  I don't think this kid should get a free pick to play anywhere this fall because he signed an LOI.  I think he should be able to transfer like anyone else and sit out a year, but not right off the bat.  

I also wish that schools like LSU had to uphold their end as well though, because that's clearly bullshit as well.  Once a kid signs an LOI, he gets 4 years of tuition unless he decides to leave. But he shouldn't be able to bail on his end of the LOI either, otherwise a signed LOI doesn't mean any more than a verbal, which we all know means little in many cases.


May 6th, 2013 at 7:40 PM ^

It seems like getting rid of the LOI system and just letting recruits sign their financial aid agreement in high school would solve the problem completely as long as some language could be written in about the player qualifying and showing up on campus against a lost year of eligibility like the LOI forces now.


May 6th, 2013 at 9:44 PM ^

I was thinking it might be Levenberry at first so I was preparing to laugh heartily upon opening the article.  I was disappointed.  

PS. How did FSU do in this years draft?  With the talent they bring in they should be sending a lot of first rounders out.  They obviously are up there with ND as far as underachievers of the decade go but are they also the place where blue chips go to die?

no joke its hoke

May 6th, 2013 at 7:59 PM ^

call me crazy but i'm sure the coaches have already spoken to him and know why he doesnt want to go there. let the kid move on and make the choice he wants. how many times have we seen this over the years? Kid wants to leave, school/coaches pull a dick move and tries to block his movement. Sure maybe the coaches this time have no such intentions but i dont believe they havent spoken to the kid and are totally caught off guard here.


May 6th, 2013 at 8:33 PM ^

This will be unpopular, but I think they should hold him accountable for his actions. He signed a legally-binding contract, fully cognizant of the ramifications of what he was doing. He was presumably well aware that this was locking him in to play football for FSU in return for a scholarship. Have some integrity and stick with the commitment you made. If you weren't sure, you should've held off. You're telling me FSU wouldn't have waited on this kid? Come on. He's old enough to buy a car or a house (and take out the requisite loans that come with those), and you can't just say "whoopsie, changed my mind" to the bank. He needs to understand that actions have consequences. He signed a contract. Deal with it. Or, if he really wants to transfer, he should take what FSU will let him have and be grateful that he got that much.


May 6th, 2013 at 9:20 PM ^

But they can't really hold him to anything. He can just stop going to practice or just refuse to work with the team. If each school could enforce these contracts there would be a lot of lawsuits against kids and a clogged NCAA clearinghouse. FSU probably doesn't care except he is highly rated and just signed 3 months ago.


May 7th, 2013 at 8:51 AM ^

But, like many others have said above, the school/coach does get to just say, "whoopsie, changed my mind" without any consequences.  You can say it shouldn't be that way, or that you'd say the same about a coach even though he's technically allowed to do it.  But as long as this is a one-way street, I have a hard time dicussing "accountability" and "integrity" in these LOI situations.

Perkis-Size Me

May 6th, 2013 at 8:34 PM ^

That's why you don't let Mommy and Daddy make these decisions for you. Be a big boy and decide on your own. You're a 5 star linebacker. Every major program in America wants you. If you need to take a few days or a week to decide, they'll wait for you.


May 6th, 2013 at 8:51 PM ^

If you weren't ready, should have waited. The high school coaches need to inform the parents that National Signing Day is just the EARLIEST you can sign your LOI. Kids every year extend their decision. If the mom already knew it then shame on her for forcing the kid to make a decision. I hope the kid doesn't get released and I don't think he will. Redshirt year won't kill ya anyways kid. 

Now, coaches need to be held accountable too. No Les Miles-Larry Porter funny business. If you offer the kid and accept his commitment, honor it! 

Buck Killer

May 6th, 2013 at 10:38 PM ^

I wouldn't let my kid play for anyone named Jimbo. I understand it is just a name, however the person that made that choice supplied some DNA.


May 6th, 2013 at 10:50 PM ^

I think the solution is simple.  the kid gets to leave after sitting out a year.  That's the rule and he can deal with it.  

The problem with letting him out and letting him go elsewhere this fall is that it sets a precident. 

As for les miles.  Schools should be forced to honor their LOI and lose their bowl game immediately if they oversign.  That would solve that problem...





May 7th, 2013 at 3:38 AM ^

I could be wrong, but even if he gets released from his LOI he’s still going to have to sit out this fall.

FSU should just give him a free release. The negative publicity is not worth it IMO.

Zone Left

May 6th, 2013 at 11:24 PM ^

For a little perspective, Jimbo Fisher blatantly oversigns. In 2011, he brought in 29 players and admitted in his news conference he expected some players not to qualify and that he'd grayshirt guys if he had to do so. 

What goes around, comes around, Jimbo.



May 6th, 2013 at 11:32 PM ^

Let this kid out, if he wants to leave let him do it the right way and sit out like everyone else. He choose now live w it, he probably realizes the tuff road ahead and Is looking for a way out. Once a quitter always a quitter

Wolverine 73

May 7th, 2013 at 9:27 AM ^

but when the kid has not even shown up and doesn't want to be there, it seems to me you (1) meet with him and talk it through and then (2) if he still wants out, you let him out.  I just can't see why any school would want to stick it to an 18 year old kid under these circumstances.


May 7th, 2013 at 10:13 AM ^

Usually, I side with the athlete.  However, if one school lets someone out just because he changed his mind, it will open Pandora's proverbial box, and LOI's will no longer be binding.  FSU can't afford to let this kid go.  He will have to take a year off, like any athlete would.  

Since most players are better off with a redshirt, everybody wins.  The NCAA's LOI retains its sanctity, and the player gets a free year of college somewhere while he redshirts.