Florida State LB Thomas starting to live up to potential

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — No one on Florida State’s roster knows more about bouncing back after getting knocked down more than Matthew Thomas.

For the first time in four years, the junior linebacker is living up to the potential many saw when he was recruited in 2013. Thomas leads the 13th-ranked Seminoles in tackles going into Saturday’s game at South Florida.

Florida State (2-1) is trying to bounce back after a 43-point loss last Saturday at Louisville. Considering that during the past three-plus seasons Thomas has dealt with shoulder injuries, the death of a parent and being academically ineligible, the blowout win by the Cardinals is just a small roadblock.

Last year at this time Thomas was on the sidelines watching his teammates and wondering if he would ever play football or even remain at Florida State.

Coach Jimbo Fisher said earlier this week that Thomas finally started maturing and understanding the importance of trying to revive his career.

Thomas credits running back Dalvin Cook and defensive end DeMarcus Walker for their emotional support last year. Cook and Thomas are both Miami natives while Walker first met Thomas at a high school all-star game in 2013.

Besides dealing with injuries and academics, Thomas was also struggling with the loss of his mother, Mariska Nyon, in January of 2015. As a five-star prospect at Booker T. Washington, Thomas wanted to attend Southern Cal but it was his mom who wanted him to go to Florida State.

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