Miami Hurricanes dismiss leading receiver Jeff Thomas

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 06: Jeff Thomas #4 of the Miami Hurricanes makes a catch in the second half against the Florida State Seminoles at Hard Rock Stadium on October 6, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 06: Jeff Thomas #4 of the Miami Hurricanes makes a catch in the second half against the Florida State Seminoles at Hard Rock Stadium on October 6, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

In a statement released by the Miami Hurricanes Athletic Department today leading receiver, Sophomore wide receiver Jeff Thomas has been dismissed from the team.

Thomas has stepped up for the Miami Hurricanes this season with star wide receiver Ahmmon Richards having to retire because of a neck injury. Thomas leads the team with 35 receptions and 563 receiving yards. He is averaging 16.1 yards per reception and three touchdowns.

Thomas has also been one of the Miami Hurricanes most dynamic players on special teams. He has 10 kick returns for 260 yards and has returned nine punts for 221 yards for an obscene 24.6 yards per return. That includes an electric sideline tapping touchdown against Virginia Tech last weekend.

The news broke from several sources about Thomas’ dismissal. Matt Shodell of CaneSports appeared on 790 the Ticket to discuss Thomas’ dismissal. He relayed that Thomas and Head Coach Mark Richt had, in Shodell’s words, “a blow up earlier this week.” 

Shodell also reported that several other players on offense are not happy. That includes Sophomore wide receiver, Mike Harley. According to Shodell the players do not like getting yelled at in practice.

Shondell and others have reported that the mentality of players have changed in this generation. Players expect to contribute immediately. Miami quarterback N’Kosi Perry discussed the unrealistic expectations from Freshmen.

"“For freshmen, I definitely tell them how I was last year. I didn’t play one down…There are some freshmen that’s playing [who] may not be happy — but you’re playing as a freshman. You should be very proud.’’"

Shodell also mentioned that Richt’s number one emphasis on his team is building his players into men. Next is winning. That does mean that Richt is not competitive. Shodell said that under Richt’s calm exterior he is competitive as they come.

The Miami Athletic Department released a statement saying that Thomas was released due to not living up to team standards. Christy Cabrera Chirinos of the Sun Sentinel Tweeted out the official statement.

Thomas is the fourth wide receiver lost off the Miami Hurricanes roster in about a year. Dionte Mullins was dismissed in early November 2017, Dayall Harris made the decision to transfer in the offseason and Ahmmon Richards had to retire earlier this season because of a neck injury.

An AP report said that Thomas was not happy with not starting the game at wide receiver on Saturday against Virginia Tech. He missed two practices this week and that’s when Richt made the decision to dismiss Thomas from the team.

Thomas was a captain twice this season and had been praised repeatedly by Richt this year. Asked about Thomas’ talent earlier this season Richt said: “I wish we had about three of him, to be honest with you.”

Several reports have stated that in addition to Thomas’ clash with Richt earlier this week, the Sophomore also clashed with Wide Receivers Coach Ron Dugans recently. Offensive Coordinator Thomas Brown also spoke to reporters after practice on Wednesday before the announcement of Jeff Thomas’ dismissal.

Brown discussed how the team would handle Thomas, his importance to the Miami Hurricanes and if he expected Thomas to return to the team. 

"“We’ll handle it in-house,’’ Brown said. “I’m not going to make a public comment about it. I’ll say whatever I say to him off camera…Very important,’’ Brown answered. All our guys are important. So, we love the guys that are here and we’re going to move forward and get ready to win this football game.’’"

Thomas did not play the first two offensive series for Miami against Virginia Tech and that reportedly had upset him. He finished the game playing only 28 of 69 offensive snaps against the Hokies.

Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald said that Thomas was not taking care of his “business off the field and that Thomas“was being shown tough love by the staff.” 

Thomas reportedly had similar issues off the field at East St. Louis High School. Some schools reportedly backed off Thomas’ recruitment because his grade. Other sources have said that Thomas wasn’t putting in football work off the field either.

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Wide receiver is the Miami Hurricanes deepest position. Losing a player with Thomas’ talent is still hard to replace. Thomas said  a 4.37 40-yard dash this year according to Miller Degnan. Illinois is considered to be the early favorite for Thomas to transfer to.