Jeff Thomas

Associated Press

Miami posts largest margin of victory over Florida State since 2001

8 Comments

Florida State and Miami came into their annual rivalry game with identical 4-4 records, the first time since 1975 that neither team had a record of above .500.  Exiting it, was The U making a little bit of history that’s a little more recent.

With Jarren Williams back under center for the first time in three games, the redshirt freshman quarterback passed for 313 yards and a pair of touchdowns in leading the Hurricanes to an impressive 27-10 win over the Seminoles.  The yards are a career-high for Williams, surpassing the 309 he put up in a Week 2 loss to North Carolina.

The 17-point win is Miami’s largest in the series since a 22-point triumph in 2001, which was also played in Tallahassee.  The U has also won three straight against FSU, its longest streak in the rivalry since winning six in a row from 2000-04.

Williams opened the scoring with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Thomas halfway through the first quarter.  He also put the game out of reach with his second scoring toss of the game, a 56-yarder early in the fourth quarter that proved to much for the ‘Noles to overcome.

Outside of 0-0 at kickoff, the closest the Seminoles would get in this game was at 7-3 early in the second quarter.

Despite being just 3-3 in ACC play, the win keeps the Hurricanes in the thick of wild Coastal Division race.  UM is just a half-game out of first place, with Pitt, Virginia and North Carolina sitting atop the division at 3-2 (UVa. and UNC play tonight, Pitt has already won).  Virginia Tech sits at 2-2 while Duke is at 2-3.

The U, though, has just two league games left — home against Louisville (11/9) and on the road at Duke (11/30).  They have already lost to North Carolina and Virginia Tech — and 1-4-in-ACC-play Georgia Tech; still don’t understand how the hell that one happened —  but have beaten Virginia and Pitt.

For FSU, they’ll need to win at least two of their final three games — a Boston College, FCS Alabama State, at Florida — to become bowl-eligible.  If they don’t get those two wins, it’ll be the first time since the mid-seventies that the Seminoles have gone bowl-less in back-to-back seasons.

Suspension of Miami WR Jeff Thomas to last one more game

Getty Images
2 Comments

Some clarity to the Jeff Thomas saga has been achieved.  Some.

Shortly before Miami’s inexplicable loss to Georgia Tech this past Saturday, The U announced that Thomas had been suspended for unspecified violations of team rules. During a subsequent radio appearance Monday, head coach Manny Diaz stated that the football program “should know more in the next day or two” when it came to the wide receiver’s status for this Saturday’s game against Pitt.

Wednesday, Diaz confirmed that Thomas’ suspension will last one more game, which will sideline him for the Panthers.  Barring a setback — which, given Thomas’ past, is certainly possible — the junior will be eligible to return for the Florida State game Nov. 2.

Thus far, Diaz has given no public indication as to the reasoning behind a two-game suspension that 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.

This season, Thomas is third on the Hurricanes in receptions (24) and receiving yards (270).  His two receiving touchdowns are tied for second on the team.

Miami WR Brian Hightower tweets move to transfer portal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

All of a sudden, there’s a bit of upheaval in Miami’s receiving corps.

Earlier today, we noted the long-running, ongoing drama that is the Jeff Thomas Experience at The U. Monday evening, Brian Hightower added to the collective positional brouhaha by announcing on Twitter that, “[a]fter careful consideration and discussion with my family, and THE University of Miami coaching staff, I am entering my name into the transfer portal to openly explore the best opportunities to utilize my remaining eligibility and pursue my education.”

A four-star member of Miami’s 2018 recruiting class, Hightower was rated as the No. 27 receiver in the country.  Mark Pope was the only receiver in The U’s class that year rated higher than Hightower.

Hightower played in 17 games during his time with the Hurricanes — 10 as a true freshman, all seven this season.  He totaled 148 yards and one touchdown on 12 receptions, with eight of those catches and 88 of the yards coming in 2019.

Miami announces WR Jeff Thomas suspended for Georgia Tech game

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

For third time this offseason, WR reneges on commitment to Illinois

Getty Images
3 Comments

This is truly unbelievable.

In late December, Illinois announced that transfer wide receiver Jeff Thomas had signed a financial aid agreement and would enroll at the university for the spring 2019 semester; a month later, Thomas reversed course and returned to Miami. In early January, transfer wide receiver A.D. Miller signed a Big Ten Tender of Financial Aid and planned to enroll at the University of Illinois this spring; two months later, Miller reneged on that commitment and returned to Oklahoma.

Fast-forward to mid-March, and Dejon Brissett announced on social media that he would be transferring from FCS Richmond to Illinois. Amazingly, Brissett took to social media yet again Monday to confirm that he too will be leaving Illinois at the receiving corps altar and will instead continue his collegiate playing career at Virginia.

Brissett was an All-Colonial Athletic Association player in 2017 after catching 63 passes for 896 yards and seven touchdowns. He played in just three games in 2018 before suffering a broken foot, which allowed him to take a redshirt for this past season under the new NCAA rule. In those three games, incidentally, he caught 16 passes for 299 yards.

As Brissett heads to Charlottesville from the FCS ranks, he will be eligible to play for the Cavaliers in 2019.

Earlier this month, USC wide receiver Trevon Sydney announced that he would be transferring to Illinois; at press time, it’s unclear exactly when Sydney will be reneging on that commitment and returning to the Trojans.