“I liked that Syracuse was like the underdog. We could go into the ACC and make a statement.”
Three-star DB Simeon Thomas is scheduled to visit Syracuse this weekend, but only recently received an offer from the Orange. In fact, the Miami product first talked to Scott Shafer and the new staff just a few weeks ago… with one exception. Thomas has known an Orange coach throughout his whole collegiate career. You guessed it, “The Mailman” George McDonald. SU’s new offensive coordinator has had a huge impact on Miami Carol City HS. And it’s thanks to the guy that keeps on delivering that Simeon will be visiting CNY just days before National Signing Day.
“Coach McDonald told me during ninth grade that he was going to recruit me until my senior year and he stuck to his word. He never gave up on me. I was the first one he always talked to. I just got real comfortable with him as a person as well as a coach. I used to talk with him about different things, not even about football, but about life, about school.”
Thomas tells The Fizz he trusts McDonald for this reason. Shafer loved Simeon’s tape after McDonald passed it along. Within days, SU offered. The former Miami and Arkansas assistant convinced Simeon to brave the snow and come enjoy the Hill in February. The 6’4” 190 lbs safety/cornerback hybrid dominated the secondary this past season at Miami Carol City. “The Freak” picked off two passes and recorded 35 tackles. His teammates nicknamed him that because of his long and lanky reach. Smaller wideouts assume he’s too big and bulky to play corner, but his size actually helped him become the team’s top lockdown DB.
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Thomas has over nearly a dozen offers from some of the ACC and SEC’s top schools, but his final three include Syracuse, Hawaii and Clemson. He said he didn’t need to be surrounded by the hype of top tier college programs, rather he wanted to earn attention himself with his play on the field. That’s why rising programs like SU and Hawaii intrigued the senior.
“I liked that Syracuse was like the underdog. That was a bonus, we could go into the ACC and make a statement. I like the thought of having that Syracuse jersey on and making a huge impact in the ACC my first year.”
Thomas almost has OLB size, but his plan is to remain in the secondary in college. Syracuse will lose Ri’Shard Anderson and Shamarko Thomas, so adding Simeon and JuCo Darius Kelly brings size and experience to contribute ASAP.
Thomas originally commit to Florida International over the summer. The big time offers weren’t rolling, and he was excited to play for now fired HC Mario Cristobal. Once the six-year coach was axed last month Simeon decommitted that same week. It was difficult transition for the Thomas.
“I had a lot of bigger schools and bigger offers. Mario Cristobal was a great coach for me. FIU seemed like the right program when [Cristobal] was there. It was real difficult. It was like I had to start the recruiting process all over again. But time will tell, National Signing Day is right around the corner.”
Thomas tells The Fizz he has been talking a lot with Cristobal lately (he is now a Hurricanes’ assistant). Simeon has some interest in the The U, but it has not offered him yet.
Even with Clemson’s rep, it’s still most likely down to Syracuse and Hawaii. Thomas has a few players on the Warriors roster he is close with. The DB is also friends with SU safety Durell Eskridge. Durell convinced Simeon he can get over the snow and cold weather, Thomas’ mother also likes the thought of her son heading up north. She believes Syracuse is the best academic fit for Simeon.
SU has made impressive strides in going after new recruits just weeks before NSD. Corey Winfield, Corey Cooper, Mitch Kimble and Alexander Hayes have all committed in the days since the new staff took over. And no one is doing more damage than McDonald right now. He has been incredible, landing names and gaining interest with fury over the last two weeks. He’s close to landing another big fish from Florida. Let’s see if another Florida native leaves with a lasting impression before he decides this week.
Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald