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Greg ‘Zae’ Thomas earns abundance of college offers

Greg ‘Zae’ Thomas (No. 2) covers a teammate during an American Heritage practice May 21, 2024, in Plantation. (Photo Mayli Tommie/Special to the Seminole Tribune)

PLANTATION — What a difference a year has made for the Seminole Tribe’s Greg “Zae” Thomas.

After the 6-foot-3, 187-pound cornerback finished practice with his American Heritage School football team in Plantation on May 21, Thomas reflected on where he was in mid-May 2023. His grueling training regimen during that summer included multiple workouts each day, focusing on lifting and running.

“I did that every day of the summer. I put my head down and focused. I kept telling myself it’s going to pay off,” said Thomas, who is heading into his senior year.

Indeed, his hard work has paid off in a big way. After having no scholarship offers from colleges a year ago, Thomas now has several big-time college programs seeking his services, making him by far the most highly recruited student-athlete in the history of the tribe.

“It’s a blessing just to be in the position I’m in. I have 31 (offers). I thank God every day because this time last year I had none,” he said.

Greg “Zae” Thomas

Offers have poured in from all the major conferences, including the ACC and SEC. He said the schools pursuing him the most are Clemson, Miami, Florida State, Missouri, Iowa and Tennessee. He has also received offers from the likes of other powerhouses such as LSU, Oklahoma and Penn State.

Thomas has official school visits lined up with Clemson (May 31-June 2) and Florida State (June 21-23). He said he might have an official visit to one more school in June.

Thomas said it’s a possibility that he commits during an official visit, but added that his timeline would likely be to make a decision toward the end of the summer.

Thomas’s final season with American Heritage will kick off Aug. 23 when the Patriots host 2023 Georgia state champion Milton, which is led by quarterback and Miami-commit Luke Nickel.

Thanks to an outstanding performance at a combine in March, Thomas’s season will extend beyond the Patriots’ schedule. At the combine, he was selected to play in the U.S. Army Bowl on Dec. 21 at the Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, Texas. The 12,000-seat stadium is the practice home of the Dallas Cowboys. The game will feature some of the nation’s top seniors.

“I performed really well,” Thomas said about the combine that was held in Orlando. “They invited me to the game in December. I think that’s great. It will be a good experience.”

Thomas blossomed last season into a 4-star recruit as he helped Heritage post a 10-2 record. He missed the team’s final game – a 17-14 loss to Tampa’s Berkeley Prep in the Class 2M semifinals – due to an ankle ligament injury. Thomas said he has completely healed.

Thomas doesn’t live on the Hollywood Reservation, however, he does work out in the reservation’s weight room at the Howard Tiger Recreation Center.

When asked what advice he would give to younger student-athletes in the tribe who aspire to get noticed by colleges, Thomas suggested following the path that he did.

“You just got to put your head down and block out all the distractions,” said Thomas, who is the son of tribal members Greg Thomas and Alice Osceola. “It’s going to be boring and seem lame and you’re not going to do a lot of things other people do, but hard work pays off. It’s a cliché, but it’s true.”

Greg “Zae” Thomas, center, chats with his American Heritage teammates during a break in practice May 21, 2024, in Plantation. (Photo Mayli Tommie/Special to the Seminole Tribune)
Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at