Well, this is certainly an unexpected — and wholly unwelcomed — development for Rutgers.
Head coach Kyle Flood announced Tuesday that starting cornerback Ian Thomas has abruptly left the Scarlet Knights football program in order to pursue a career in baseball. Flood said Thomas will transfer to another university in order to engage that pursuit.
The decision to move on and change sports appeared to blindside both the coach and players.
“I didn’t really see a sign that it would happen,” Flood said. “It’s a strange occurrence to me but it happens. It happens here and it happens at other places. I saw an article about a kid at UCF (DE Blake Keller) who was playing for them and decided it wasn’t the right place for him for whatever reason. Players make those decisions. Division I football is certainly demanding and if you are not 100 percent and your heart is not in it then I could see why somebody would want to move on.”
“Ian and I were very close friends actually and we talked all the time,” wide receiver Leonte Carroo said. “But nothing like that ever came up. It was very shocking to me.”
Thomas had started three of the six games in which he’s played in 2013. This season, the redshirt sophomore had one of Rutgers’ four interceptions.
Arguably the most surprising twist to this abrupt development comes courtesy of a quote from Thomas’ high school football coach.
“The young man didn’t play baseball in high school,” said Franklin (Md.) High School coach Anthony Burgos said.
Well, OK then.