The Florida State Seminoles have started spring practice, after an offseason dedicated to bringing young talent to one of the team’s deepest rooms already — defensive back. That investment seems to be paying off, with one of the standouts of the 2022 early enrollees being Azareye’h Thomas, the Top-100 ranked athlete from Niceville, FL.
Thomas was a late surprise addition to the 2022 class, as he was likely headed to either Oklahoma, LSU or Florida. But with major program changes for all of those schools, head coach Mike Norvell was able to make the final push to secure him with in-home visits.
After his first week of practice, Thomas credited Norvell and the passion he brings as a deciding factor to play in Tallahassee
“Coach Norvell, when he came for my home visit I just felt the passion he had for his team and for the game. I still feel it [at practice],” Thomas said. “He brings energy everyday. If you come in sleepy or tired he’s gonna wake you up. I love that about coach.”
Out of high school Thomas projected as a defensive back but was dominant playing both sides of the field as a wide receiver and cornerback. So far for FSU he has just been used in the defensive back field.
He has some incredible highlights at Niceville High on both sides of the ball:
“Right now, I’ll play wherever they want me at,” Thomas said during his introductory interview. “It’s my freshman year so I’m going to really try to make my identity for the first year — not try to rush into things. [As far as the] offensive side, I don’t know…wherever the coaches see me and think I’ll fit best.”
In the first four practices Thomas has been able to settle in and make some plays including two interceptions on the Friday practice ahead of spring break.
Last week, Thomas talked about the process of going through spring ball and finally feeling like he’s been able to settle in and find his place.
“It raised my confidence [having success in practice], when I first came here I was kinda nervous especially being an early enrollee. But as the weeks and months went on I got more comfortable,” said Thomas. “I’ve really just started being me, being more expressive since I was kinda quiet at first. So that [2 interceptions in Friday’s practice] helped a whole bunch.”
Even with his stellar performance so far, he was quick to explain that he still has a lot to learn and is trying to improve his game every single practice.
“At the end of the day you have to have a short term memory, good or bad. I still have to move on to the next play and practice. I wanna get better each and every day,” Thomas said “In college, you have to have a short term memory. Coming in as a young player I had to learn that, someone is going to make a play on you. I just have to keep my composure and just try to learn from my mistakes.”
With the progress he’s showcasing this spring, Thomas could potentially see some starting action by the time the season rolls around — and if continues to progress, the sky is the limit for the freshman.