We've partnered with Luke Stampini of www.SoFlaFootball.com to discuss FSU's recruiting prospects. He'll join us each week. Make sure to visit his site as he has something special going on over there.
This week, he decided to write his thoughts on Phillip Thomas, including some surprising comments from Thomas about a certain lazy member of the Seminole's coaching staff!
Luke Stampini's comments appear in the shaded sections. My comments follow.
The name that seems to be ringing in the ears of Seminole fans this holiday season has been Phillip Thomas. The hard hitting safety from Miami Edison wasn't even a blip on the recruiting radar screen heading into the season. After leading Dade County with 8 interceptions, being named to the prestigious 1st Team All-Dade, and releasing an impressive highlight tape, the Phillip Thomas fan club seems to be growing by the day in ‘Nole land.
I am a big fan of Phillip Thomas. He definitely needs work in technique but the kid has special instincts and could be a great weapon on defense.
Unfortunately for Thomas, the FSU coaching staff has yet to join his fan club.
It really appears that FSU is giving him the run around on watching his film and Thomas realizes that, stating the other night at the North-South Dade All-Star game, "It only takes 30 minutes, MAYBE an hour."
Thomas, who is full of personality, is very optimistic that once the bowl season is over some bigger schools will come after him.
Chuck Amato might be the worst coach in America. Amato told this kid he was too busy to watch his tape (even though it is his responsibility to do so), because he had so much Wisconsin tape to watch. This is for the bowl game that Bob Bowden said "wasn't a big deal."
Amato is also the coach fighting with other coaches, causing massive internal strife, aiding the negative recruiting efforts of other schools, undermining the progressive hard work of some of FSU's more respected coaches, and generally embarrassing the program. For the record, Amato has signed zero quality South Florida prospects in his return to FSU. None. Yet many still regard him as the South Florida recruiting guru...
There is no doubt in my mind Thomas would be getting a lot of attention, including serious attention from Florida's Big 3 had he played his junior season and if he would have taken the ACT before late October of his senior year. There is just too much of a risk/waste of time and money to recruit a kid that doesn't have any varsity film or even a test score to see how close to qualifying he may be. Now that Thomas got a very good test score in his first attempt, a core GPA that looks to be in order and even working to improve that even more, some impressive game film, Thomas is ready to have a busy recruitment in the month of January.
The kid is definitely raw, which means we would need to coach him up, which would require a defensive backs coach. We stopped consistently developing DB's in 2005 and don't have a defensive backs coach.
The point is that FSU must act now if they are to get this guy. He will get the big offers soon and FSU won't beat the big schools for this guy unless they apologize for Amato's disrespect and make a serious effort to secure his commitment.
The first time seeing Thomas was against Monsignor Pace, and admittedly I was going to the game to see Pace's safety Kayvon Webster (Miami commit), wide receiver Sterling Griffin, and Edison's wide receiver Larry McCoy. In that game Thomas had a pick, a touchdown reception, and a few nice hits, but like I mentioned I didn't really focus on him much as I was there checking out the other players. Webster didn't really blow him out of the water as you would suspect when one is committed to Miami and the other has NO offers.
A few weeks later when Edison took on Carol City, Thomas caught my eye during pre-game warm ups going through his defensive back drills. A fairly well put together kid, moving very well and decent height, remembering this is the kid that had the INT and TD reception a few weeks earlier. This was soon after I watched an "All-American" look good in warm ups only to not make any plays in the game, so I was still skeptical.
Then Thomas just exploded that Carol City game and he no longer could be over looked. You had to keep your eye on him, waiting to see what he would do next. He displayed great quickness, a knack for being around the ball, and the ability to just KO kids. The first thing I said was, "Oh my, a Big Ten school is going to swipe this kid and get themselves a freaking STEAL."
Miami gave him a quick looking following the season, but their class is loaded with safeties already (I bet Thomas turns out better than a majority of them, who knows maybe all). Obviously FSU is/was more than taking a look at him.
Clearly, we need to take a more serious look at Thomas. I suggest dropping slow defensive back Justin Bright, who most believe is only being offered a scholarship to secure goodwill of kids from Byrnes High School in South Carolina (a major Clemson pipeline).
Right now Western and Central Michigan are the only schools really after Phillip and he plans on visiting both in January. As coaching staffs across the nation start to fill up following the flurry of head coaching changes, I do believe some BCS school come January will jump in the fray, leaving WMU and CMU out in the cold.
FSU can beat out WMU and CMU, obviously. Unfortunately, we are a defined step below UF, UGA, Bama, LSU, etc. right now, and time is of the essence.
Will FSU make an offer? Time will tell. Can he play at FSU or any other upper tier BCS school, no doubt. I've a lot of good high school safeties this season including Webster, Zeke Motta (Notre Dame), Brandan Bishop (NC State), Rod Woodson (Alabama), Artice Kellam (Ole Miss), Jawanza Starling, Tevin McCaskill, Terrance Taylor. Those are some talented players heading to some big time schools, and quite frankly Thomas is better than most of them, maybe all.
This is not the kind of kid we need to pass on or disrespect. Why we used our most washed up disinterested recruiter on this kid is beyond me.
His technique slips and he relies on athleticism at times and he needs to continue adding muscle, but he has a nose for the ball and can be described with one word. EXPLOSIVE.
The "very athletic, needs more technique" description embodies many elite prospects. I bet Thomas would do very well at a school with a defensive backs coach.
Thanks again to Luke Stampini and make sure to visit www.SoFlaFootball.com !