Linebacker Matthew Thomas should compete for the starting role at weak-side linebacker on the Florida State Seminoles in 2013.
His athleticism and raw natural talent makes him an ideal fit for the weak-side linebacker role in Jimbo Fisher's defense. Warchant was the first to report on their Twitter feed about Matthew Thomas selecting FSU:
Warchant.com (@Warchant) February 6, 2013
Thomas is rated 99 on the 247sports.com ratings. This is good enough to make him the No. 14 prospect in the country, third-best outside linebacker and fourth-best prospect in the state of Florida. His 6'3.5", 210-pound frame looks like it could easily add some mass and retain his speed.
Florida State is deep, but talent will be shifted around to accommodate for a guy like Thomas. Nick Moody—2012's starting strong-side linebacker—graduated this past season and will cause a shift of last year's weak-side linebacker Christian Jones to the strong-side.
That leaves just sophomore Reggie Northrup as the man to compete with for Thomas. Northrup is also a long, fast athlete who should excel in Fisher's defense. It will be interesting to see the pair of players compete for the starting role.
What should Florida State do with Matthew Thomas as a Freshman?
Matthew Thomas chose to sign with Florida State over Miami, Alabama and Southern California. He's a huge get for the Seminoles in that regard, especially since the Hurricanes are his hometown team.
The biggest advantage for any linebacker at Florida State that made it much more attractive than Miami for Thomas is the defensive line that is full of former 4- and 5-star recruits.
Linemen Mario Edwards Jr., Timmy Jernigan, Eddie Goldman and Giorgio Newberry will make up a defensive line that should be able to keep the linebackers at FSU clean.
As a linebacker, that is always going to make a place more attractive because it means you won't have to take as many hits from offensive linemen.
Either way, Matthew Thomas will provide someone who can come in on nickel situations early in his career and has the potential to develop into the top linebacker in the country come draft time.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL draft website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.