In-state programs on emerging DB recruit Zae Thomas early on

Few high school football programs have the recruiting track record, NFL alumni or reputation that Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage currently does.

If there is one position in particular where it holds even more weight, it’s what AHS has produced in the secondary with NFL standouts Patrick Surtain, Tyson Campbell, Marco Wilson and others making an impact at the highest level.

Each cycle there are new names to know in the Patriot defensive back group, and it doesn’t take long to see which one could be next up with a near 6-foot-2, 200-pound cornerback making plays early on in the 2023 season.

Gregory ‘Zae’ Thomas has turned heads through the first month of the season and recruiting is beginning to follow suit.

“We’re a good group, we’ve got good chemistry on and off the field,” Thomas said of the current AHS secondary. “I’m locked in with this secondary.”

Thomas, who also runs track, caught the attention of several college programs earlier this year en route to his first three scholarship offers. Florida State, Miami and Western Kentucky are in to date, while Missouri and Pitt are among those in communication.

There is a strong new connection from AHS at FSU these days.

“Obviously coach Pat (Surtain Sr.) was the head coach here my freshman year, so it’s a strong bond,” Thomas said. “I talk to him the most, like almost every day.

“Florida State is my dream school.”

Of course local Miami has recruited the program very well and it has its own coaching connection between programs.

“I’m in constant contact with them,” he said. “Coach (Mike) Rumph was here and now we talk about me getting back to campus for a couple of games.”

Thomas began his in-season visits with a trip to Orlando to see FSU beat LSU and like most in America, he came away impressed.

“I loved what I saw from Florida State, that defense looked dominant,” he said. “I was watching Renardo Green and also someone who is like my cousin in Conrad Hussey. I grew up playing with him.”

The junior will likely get up to Tallahassee for FSU’s home opener against Southern Miss this weekend. After that, a trip to see the Hurricanes is also likely.

As Thomas becomes a more coveted commodity, he is planning on taking his time with the recruiting process.

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