When three-star Cypress Bay (FL) wide receiver Kadeem Goulbourne committed to SMU last week, he made it a point to say he wanted his decision to open some eyes around the state of Florida.
And it already has for his teammate and 2015 outside linebacker Danny Thomas.
"When he committed there, I was kind of shocked because he put a lot of work in to get bigger schools to offer and then he committed to a smaller school like SMU," Thomas said. "He had Big 10 and AAC schools on his list. But I understood because SMU is a small college, and he felt comfortable there.
"They have some great kids from Texas and if they get some athletes from South Florida, they can dominate. He texted me and told me that SMU would be a great fit, and that if I wanted to go to the NFL, they could help me get there."
A short time after Goulbourne committed, SMU extended an offer to Thomas, which also came as a big surprise.
"Basically, I had never talked to them before. I just got a text from my head coach saying I had an offer," Thomas said. "I told my family, and they all told me that it's a great school. My mom thinks it's a religious school though so she's not sure if she wants me to go somewhere like that. But I know it's a great school, and it's in a great city for football."
Immediately after receiving the scholarship, Thomas called SMU defensive backs coach Derrick Odum, who is in charge of recruiting Florida. Although Odum hasn't had much success in the Sunshine State, Thomas was impressed with what he had to say especially when it came to how he can fit into SMU's 3-4 scheme.
At 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, Thomas believes he can make an impact at outside linebacker, inside linebacker or even defensive end. As a junior, he racked up 111 tackles including 81 solos, 43 for loss and 14 sacks and also started on offense at tight end.
"Coach Odum said he loved my film and wants me to join Kadeem up there. He said I would be a great fit in their Pittsburgh defense that they run," Thomas said. "He was really energetic and happy. I think he's the type of coach that can make me into the player I want to be just off of his energy.
"I'm actually only looking at schools that run a 3-4 defense. I feel like that's what I was built for. I can be a blitzing backer or I can play in the middle or I can go down and play defensive end. Just tell me what to do, and I'll do it."
Thomas will have an opportunity to meet Odum and the rest of the SMU coaching staff in person when he makes an unofficial visit to the Hilltop on December 14. Right now, Thomas, who also holds an offer from West Virginia, lists SMU among his early favorites.
"I know SMU has a great tradition. They were a great team in the 80s before they got banned. They are on the rise and play great competition like Baylor, Texas Tech and UCF," Thomas said. "They are in my top choices. West Virginia has offered, and they produce a lot of NFL players like Tavon Austin and Geno Smith.
"North Carolina is really close to offering too. Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Kentucky and Arkansas have also shown strong interest. All these schools just want to see me in the spring before they officially offer."
SMU Offers Florida Linebacker
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