The USC Trojans look to be in good position to become a major player in the race for 5-star outside linebacker Matthew Thomas, and that's bad news for Miami and Florida State.
Thomas is and elite linebacker recruit and he has the talent to live up to the lofty expectations. He's extremely athletic, quick and aggressive as a linebacker. He has the agility to play sideline-to-sideline and make plays in open space, but he also displays great physicality.
He's going to be a huge pickup for whichever program can land his commitment. Thomas is from Miami and attends a Miami pipeline school (Booker T. Washington High School) so the Hurricanes seem to have a good chance, as does Florida State.
That said, according to a report from Matt Shodell of CaneSport.com, Thomas will take a visit to USC this weekend, instead of visiting Miami:
Last weekend Booker T. Washington LB Matthew Thomas canceled a planned visit to USC that was originally set for this coming weekend.
He set up a visit to Miami instead.
But then USC coach Tee Martin visited with Thomas at Booker T. yesterday and the star recruit decided he would head to California this weekend after all.
Just how seriously should Florida State, and specifically Miami, take this visit from USC? Are the Trojans a legitimate option in this recruiting race?
Frankly, you'd be naive to think that USC wasn't a major threat to Miami or FSU.
Lane Kiffin's program may have experienced its fair share of struggles this past season, but the Trojans are still a powerhouse in the world of college football. USC is a marquee program that will garner a lot of attention, and there's always the added bonus of location that gives the Trojans an advantage on the recruiting trail (although Miami is reportedly quite nice as well).
For all of USC's struggles, it boasts an extremely impressive 2013 class and Thomas would have the chance to join up with other 5-star defenders like safeties Su'a Craven and Leon McQuay III, or defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
The fact of the matter is that USC has an incredibly bright future, and it's one that I'm sure Kiffin would stack up against Florida State's or Miami's any day. USC should not be taken lightly.
That said, Thomas' coach did say that this wasn't a bad thing for Miami and that Thomas is just sticking to his original schedule and not wanting to say no, per Shodell's report. That's reason to feel good if you're a Miami fan at least, but I'd urge you not to count out the Trojans.
USC may be down this season, but it certainly isn't out.
Even if Thomas is just "sticking with the schedule", the very fact that USC happens to be that scheduled visit is not a good thing for either Miami or Florida State.