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2:07 p.m. EDT, June 29, 2012
NEW SMYRNA BEACH—
Matthew Thomas doesn't say much.
In fact, when you ask the MiamiBooker T. Washingtonlinebacker if he has time for an interview, he will tell you exactly that. He's quiet.
But what he said Friday at the New Smyrna Beach Battle at the Beach 7-on-7 Tournament spoke volumes.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Thomas said he likes Alabama, and he added that he's favored the Tide for a while now, but has just been reluctant to make that public.
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"I like Alabama. I don’t remember [when I decided] but I remember them being my favorite, I think around spring time," Thomas said, as the Tornadoes prepared to defend their $10,000 Battle at the Beach title. "I like that they are a national program … how they breed linebackers to the NFL. They can go for a national championship every year, so I like that.
"I talked to Coach Saban [head coach Nick Saban], Coach Kirby [defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Kirby Smart] and Coach Stout [assistant head coach/offensive line Jeff Stoutland] … they have a good coaching staff. I can see myself playing for them."
It's the first time Thomas has singled a team out of his top five, which he added to Friday by listing Miami, Georgia, Florida State, USC and Louisville, in addition to Alabama.
Thomas also said, "There’s nothing to rush," and mentioned that he likely won't decide until National Signing Day, which his Feb. 6.
He has only ruled out one school so far and that is Florida "I don’t hear from them much," he said
Thomas, the No 1-ranked player in the Sentinel's 2013 Miami-Dade Super60 and the No. 9 player in the Sentinel's 2013 Florida Top 100, was on an unofficial visit to Coral Gables on Wednesday for another glimpse at the Hurricanes.
"It was good. I was watching the players work out. I was talking to the coaches. I liked it," Thomas said. "I liked what I’ve seen because they’ve been working hard trying to get back to win a national championship again, trying to bring that back to Miami."
Thomas is listed as the No. 2 linebacker in the country by Rivals.com and the No. 3 linebacker by 247sports.com.
And he said that sort of mentality could perhaps swing his favoritism.
For now, however, he's siding with Alabama, and that's saying a lot, for him.
Megan Walsh is a summer intern for the Setninel from the University of North Carolina. She can be reached at email@example.com.
I am glad that he shares the same dislike for the Gators as I do!
I live in nsb I didn't here about this tournament I wish I would've went dang
when i read it i was shocked too...there was no press on this event. it must have been by special invite only.
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