This is certainly an unexpected development.
Looking to win for the fourth time in five games after an 0-2 start and keep itself in the ACC Coastal mix, Miami will play host to 1-5 Georgia Tech Saturday afternoon. Ahead of that divisional matchup, The U announced that standout wide receiver Jeff Thomas has been suspended and will not play against the Yellow Jackets.
The only reason given was the standard unspecified violation of team rules.
Thus far this season, Thomas is second on the Hurricanes with 24 receptions and third with 270 yards receiving. His two receiving touchdowns are tied for the team lead as well.
The suspension continues what’s been a nearly year-long roller-coaster ride for the receiver.
In late December of last year, Illinois announced that Thomas had signed a financial aid agreement and would enroll at the university for the spring 2019 semester. That move came a month or so after the talented wide receiver was dismissed by then-Miami head coach Mark Richt for unspecified reasons.
Richt, however, abruptly retired on Dec. 30 and was replaced by former UM defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who had taken over as the head coach at Temple a couple of weeks earlier before abandoning the Owls. The combination of Richt’s retirement and Diaz’s return apparently cracked the door on a future for Thomas with the Hurricanes as it was reported in mid-January that there was a possibility the receiver will return; that possibility turned into a reality a couple of days later as the wide receiver reneged on his commitment to the Illini and returned to the Hurricanes.
At the time of his departure/dismissal in November, Thomas was leading the Hurricanes in receptions (35) and receiving yards (563). The sophomore’s 16.1 yards per reception were second on the team while his three touchdown receptions were tied for third.
As a true freshman the year before, he averaged an even 22 yards per catch on his 17 receptions and caught a pair of touchdown passes.