Four-star defensive back / receiver Azareyeh Thomas used his fifth and final official visit last weekend in Tallahassee. Thomas, who is being recruited as a defensive back at FSU, scheduled the visit after most of the Seminoles’ staff came to see him at Niceville High School, which is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from FSU’s main campus.
“Really great, great family atmosphere,” Thomas said of his official visit at FSU. “It was great just getting the feel of things. It’s a lot different than when I came my sophomore year.”
Thomas had traveled to Tallahassee to compete in a 7-on-7 tournament this past summer but did not visit the FSU campus while he was in town. Florida, LSU, and Oklahoma have led Thomas’ recruitment throughout the year, but with the head coaching changes made at each of those stops, as well as defensive backs coach Marcus Woodson and FSU’s consistent effort toward him, Thomas gave Florida State a visit the weekend before signing day.
“When I came my sophomore year, I felt a glimpse of it, but I didn’t get the whole picture,” said Thomas. “But coming for an official visit I got the whole family picture and just the whole vibe and just the whole energy. Everybody’s energy is contagious. You don’t see a frowny face going in there. And most times a coach could speak about energy or speak about a certain culture but how you treat everything is how you treat anything. So if you go to a place and you see somebody frowning or sad or anything then that is contagious as well. Everybody’s just in happy spirits and just a whole smile on their face.
“If you don’t feel like there’s a whole family atmosphere or a shoulder you can lean on, this isn’t the place for you. I felt that this weekend. It really impressed me and exceeded my expectations.”
Thomas expanded on the time spent with coach Mike Norvell and Woodson over the weekend, describing what he liked about those experiences.
“It’s different when you see it on TV or through text messages,” said Thomas. “But it feels a lot different when you actually experience it in person. So just feeling everybody’s energy. And they aren’t just talking or texting or just trying to tell me something, they are actually showing me and I’m actually feeling the love.”
Thomas said he sat down with Woodson and defensive coordinator Adam Fuller, where he learned about Fuller’s defense, and why he can excel within it.
“Really just how they’re like a man-oriented defense,” said Thomas. “They play a lot of press man. Get in your face. We went in the film room. It was just watching film about how I could read formations and just trying to make plays and really put yourself in a position to make a play. If they come out in a certain formation you already know what’s coming because you watch film, or you know these little things. Just trying to take another step in your game.”
Thomas is ranked as the 93rd overall recruit in the 2022 class, and the fourth-best athlete. He is listed at 6-foot-1, 177 pounds, but he looks at least a couple inches taller in person.
On Wednesday, Thomas will announce where he will play college football. He is deciding between Florida State, Florida, LSU, and Georgia Tech.