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Florida State’s Matthew Thomas ejected for targeting

05 September 2016: Florida State Seminoles defensive end Josh Sweat (9) during the NCAA football game between the Mississippi Rebels and the Florida State Seminoles at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)

Florida State Seminoles junior linebacker Matthew Thomas was ejected from Saturday night’s game against the Miami Hurricanes following a targeting call of quarterback Brad Kaaya. With the penalty having taken place in the second half, Thomas will also be forced to sit for the first half of Florida State’s game against Wake Forest next weekend.

Thomas is the Seminoles’ starting weak-side linebacker for a defense that is sputtering following the loss of safety Derwin James. The team has allowed at least 34 points in four of their five games entering Saturday, with the one lone time not getting to that number coming against Charleston Southern.

A heralded five-star recruit in the 2013 recruiting class, Thomas chose the Seminoles over virtually every other top school in the nation. The only other linebacker ranked ahead of him in his class was Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith, who was thought to be a potential top draft choice before his catastrophic knee injury at the end of last season.

A 6’3″, 210-pound linebacker out of Booker T. Washington HS in Miami, he stayed in-state to attend Florida State, but chose them over the hometown Hurricanes. Fast-forward to 2016 and he would be ejected for an egregious hit to Miami’s quarterback.

Entering the game, Thomas has collected 30 tackles on the year in the first five games, a new career-high for the ‘backer who has been unable to get consistent playing time. He also has forced the first fumble of his career. But due to the targeting, he will miss the remainder of the game against the Hurricanes and will have to sit when the Seminoles take on Wake Forest at Doak Campbell Stadium on Oct. 15.

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