Florida State linebacker Matthew Thomas won’t play in Independence Bowl


Last one left in Tallahassee, please turn out the lights.

Interim Florida State coach Odell Haggins confirmed on Thursday that yet another Seminoles defender will not play in the Independence Bowl game against Southern Miss as linebacker Matthew Thomas is skipping the game to focus on the NFL Draft.

The departure of Thomas from the team isn’t too surprising as the former five-star recruit has had an up-and-down career with the program due to injuries. Still, he was one of the team’s best options at the position and will mean the extremely thin defense needs another player to step up in his absence for the final game of the season.

Thomas is the fourth player who won’t wear the FSU uniform one more time, as safety Derwin James, defensive end Josh Sweat and wide receiver Ermon Lane will all be skipping the contest as well. In addition, tight end Mavin Saunders will be a graduate transfer to Kansas.

Given how beat up the Seminoles were already this season, the lack of starters might make the Independence Bowl even more competitive than you would expect if you looked at the names on the front of the uniforms in the game.