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Hurricanes part ways with starting WR Thomas

7:46 PM ET

  • Adam RittenbergESPN Staff Writer
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    • College football reporter.
    • Joined ESPN.com in 2008.
    • Graduate of Northwestern University.

Miami Hurricanes starting wide receiver Jeff Thomas is no longer part of the program, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

Thomas did not practice Tuesday and Wednesday, and a team spokesman told reporters that the sophomore wideout remained with the team but was absent for personal reasons. Head coach Mark Richt then issued a statement confirming Thomas would not return to the Hurricanes.

“We have high standards for excellence, for conduct and for the commitment to team for all of the young men who wear our uniform, and we will not waver from those standards,” Richt said in a prepared statement. “We wish Jeff the very best as he moves forward in his journey.”

Thomas tweeted Wednesday night that he wasn’t kicked off the team but reached an agreement with Richt on leaving the program.

Thomas leads Miami with 35 receptions for 563 yards with three touchdowns. He was benched early in Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech, reportedly because of off-field issues. The Miami Herald reported Wednesday that Thomas had clashed with wide receivers coach Ron Dugans, left the team and removed all references to Miami from his social media accounts.

Rated by ESPN as the No. 8 wide receiver and No. 55 overall player in the 2017 recruiting class, Thomas picked Miami over Louisville, Tennessee and others.

Quarterback N’Kosi Perry, speaking to reporters after Wednesday’s practice, called Thomas “a huge part of the team” and “a great player,” but deferred questions about whether Thomas would return to the coaches. Offensive coordinator Thomas Brown said Thomas’ situation would be handled “in-house” but declined to comment about whether Thomas was expected to rejoin the team.

Miami (6-5) hosts No. 24 Pitt on Saturday in its regular-season finale.

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