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Jeff Thomas Already Impressing in His Return to Miami

Similar to head coach Manny Diaz, Thomas’ return to Miami was also a dramatic one.

NCAA Football: Miami at Toledo Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Posting 35 catches for 563 yards and 3 touchdowns a season ago, Thomas was Miami’s leading receiver despite missing 2 games.

His 2018 campaign was filled with success, but Thomas reportedly clashed with Miami’s coaching staff — leading to his dismissal and decision to transfer to Illinois.

In a statement announcing Thomas’ dismissal, Mark Richt cited that Miami had “high standards for excellence, for conduct and for the commitment to team for all of the young men who wear our uniforms, and we will not waver from those standards. We wish Jeff the very best as he moves forward in his journey.”

However, shortly after Mark Richt’s retirement and Manny Diaz’s sudden return, Jeff Thomas chose to come back to Miami, in order to “finish what we started.

Speculation surrounding Thomas’ future arose when he was left off of Miami’s starting lineup against Virginia Tech — a game in which he amounted 110 all-purpose yards, and returned a punt for a touchdown. Tension ensued the following week, as Thomas was absent from Miami’s practice field ahead of their matchup against Pittsburgh.

Regardless of the drama, Thomas looks just as good as when he left, with offensive coordinator Dan Enos claiming that Thomas is “our most explosive player this spring.”

In addition to his coaches, his return has also encouraged teammates. “It means a whole lot for the program,” N’Kosi Perry said. “He’s a great receiver. So with him being here, they can learn from him and he can learn from them.”