Following word of another potential departure — non-Jeff Brohm related — within the U of L football coaching staff. Stay tuned . . .
Also, several people have written to ask for a transcript of my Latarrius Thomas podcast, because for one reason or another they couldn’t get the audio. A pretty close transcript is below . . .
University of Louisville safety Lattarius Thomas told The Courier-Journal today that he is transferring. He had nothing bad to say about the program or its coaching staff, just that it wasn’t right for him anymore.
It happens. It’s a loss for the Cardinals, because Thomas is a special player and person.
Thomas also told The C-J that he’d like to pursue transferring to Eastern Michigan, where former U of L defensive coordinator Ron English is now the head coach, or to Arkansas, where former Cardinal coach Bobby Petrino is the head man.
But U of L coach Steve Kragthorpe, according to Thomas, declined to release him to those schools.
Kragthrope and U of L have their reasons. And I’m not going to say they’re not legitimate. I’d say most programs are reluctant to allow their players to follow coaches who leave.
But if I can understand their side of things, I have more empathy for Thomas’ side. And they would do well to strongly consider it.
Of all the players I’ve covered, I don’t know if any one overcame more adversity to play college football than Thomas. Before ever getting to U of L, Thomas lost his mother to AIDS. He never knew his father. He bounced from one place to the next, had to move in for a while with an aunt and uncle in a situation that wasn’t great. I’d say there was more than one night where Thomas stayed wherever he could find. He was fortunate to have an outstanding high school coach who started to look out for him. There’s a lot more there, I know. But you get the picture.
I’d always hoped we could tell Thomas’ whole story. But Thomas would never tell it. And though I’m always partial to guys who love to talk about themselves, I have a great deal of respect for Thomas to sticking to his decision not to talk about it, whatever his reasons. All Thomas did was overcome whatever past he came out of to make it at U of L, not just as a player but as a student. He put his body on the line and by all accounts gave a good effort.
Thomas may have an exceptional story somewhere in there, but there are a lot of similar stories in college football.
My only point in telling it now is to ask a question:
Who are millionaire coaches and powerful football programs to tell a kid like that where he can and can’t play football or go to school?
I’m not sure where Thomas will end up. He doesn’t have a lot of family, doesn’t have a national network of friends.
I do know that U of L believes restricting these players from transfering to certain schools and coaches is in the best interests of their program. But let’s none of us delude ourselves, it is not in the best interests of the player. Not by a long shot.