Re-Commitment Impact: CB Ian Thomas

Cornerback Ian Thomas' return, and Rutgers coach Kyle Flood's decision to welcome him back is an uncommon situation in the college football world. After Thomas left midway through the 2013 season, looks at what his return means on the field, in recruiting and in the locker room.

Re-Committed Over -- Ian Thomas had some FCS football options along with the interest in pursuing a baseball career.

Rated -- Thomas was a three-star receiver out of high school. At Rutgers, he began the 2013 season as a starting cornerback, and was on the two-deep at the time of his mid-season departure.

Scouting Report -- The physical parts of defense were not in Thomas' wheelhouse the first time around, and embracing the jamming and tackling aspects of Rutgers cornerbacks remain in question. Thomas is athletic with size and smarts to match it. He was good enough to become a starter within a year of a position change suggested by New England Patriots star rookie Logan Ryan.

On the field, adding Thomas gives Flood loads of flexibility in the defensive backfield. Sophomore Delon Stephenson remains in limbo between safety and cornerback, but this means Flood has another starter-quality body at cornerback. Sophomores Nadir Barnwell and Anthony Cioffi become easier to test out at safety with two relatively proven options in Gareef Glashen and Thomas.

Recruiting Impact -- Firstly, this takes some of the sting away from Deion Hallmon's and Lamont Simmons' mid-season de-commitments at cornerback. Rutgers will still look to add depth at defensive back in the 2014 class with staff members on the way to see Tampa (Fla.) Jefferson's Deiondre Porter and Kissimmee (Fla.) Isaiah Wharton.

Bringing back Thomas puts less pressure on incoming freshman Kam Lott to perform immediately in spring practice. In essense, Thomas is now part of a five-member defensive back class – Lott, Waynedriko Smith, Saquan Hampton and Dre Boggs.

Quotable -- "He's getting his life together and is moving forward," said Anthon Burgos, his high school coach at Reisterstown (Md.) Franklin. " If he can go back there and they're willing …he's going to have to understand what he's going to have to go through as well to win over the trust and commitment from those guys. If he's willing to do it, I think it could be a great story in two years."

Bottom Line -- Flood touts the Rutgers football program as a family, and part of that is welcoming someone back after a mistake. Thomas got bad advice during a rough semester, and quit on his team. Thomas will have to win over the locker room, and he does that with hard work and dedication. The skill level is there without question, and it comes at the ultimate position of need. The pass defense without Thomas in 2013 is enough evidence of that.

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