Last fall, Matthew Thomas saw his dream season end in heartbreak as Booker T. Washington lost to Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles in the state finals after blowing a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead.
Since that time, the five-star outside linebacker has focused all of his time and effort on returning to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, site of the Florida High School Athletic Association state finals.
"Nothing has changed with me. I'm still focused on my goal," he said. "We have Cocoa (Fla.) this Friday. They have a good back in Tarean Folston and we are on the road. I'm just thinking about this game."
Even if Thomas is putting recruiting on the back burner, that hasn't stopped schools from coming by the Liberty City section of Miami to sway the talented defender.
"Tee Martin from USC is coming by tomorrow. Micheal Barrow out of Miami is stopping by this week too. Miami is planning to come to my game on Friday," Thomas said.
Will distance be a factor for the Trojans?
"Distance won't be a factor," he said. "It doesn't matter where it is, as long as I'm comfortable."
The hometown 'Canes want him to stay in his backyard and be a part of their youth movement.
When asked if Miami's depth chart helps their case, Thomas said, "That doesn't matter to me. I'm going to compete wherever I go."
So distance and depth chart won't be a factor. What about coaching or staff changes among his list of favorites?
"I heard Mark Stoops left Florida State. I think Coach Fisher will replace him with someone just as good or better. It won't hurt their chances with me. I still have a good relationship with coach Coley," Thomas said.
So far Alabama is the only school that is close to confirming an official visit. Thomas thinks it will be the weekend after the Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando on Jan. 5.
Until the end of the season, the only visit he is worried about is one to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando for the Class 4A title game.
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