FootballScoop is proud to announce that Austin Thomas is the 2015 FootballScoop Player Personnel Director of the Year presented by ProGrass.
There are plenty of talented recruiters on LSU's coaching staff. But when those recruiters look to divvy up credit for the Tigers' recruiting success, all stand and point at Austin Thomas.
"Austin is a great evaluator. He spends countless hours devouring film and is highly organized when gathering information on a player," LSU defensive line coach Ed Orgeron said. "From talent identification and evaluation, to connecting with the players and managing all of their visits, Austin runs all of it. He's the main reason for our recruiting success."
Since Thomas' arrival, LSU's recruiting classes ranked second -- including inking No. 1 overall player Leonard Fournette -- in 2014 and eighth nationally, as compiled by Rivals. This year's haul stands as Rivals' top-rated class as of this writing.
The Bayou Bengals' 2016 team stands to return 18 starters -- the majority of which signed under Thomas' watch -- and will be regarded as one of college football's most talented teams next fall.
"Austin is a future NFL general manager, there's not a doubt in my mind," LSU recruiting coordinator and assistant head coach Frank Wilson said. "I've never worked with someone as talented as he is in this role."
Thomas recently completed his third season as LSU's player personnel director. A 2008 graduate of Lipscomb University, Thomas jumped into college football as a recruiting intern at Tennessee while earning a Master's degree in sport management. He then spent a season as a defensive assistant under Monte Kiffin, and followed head coach Lane Kiffin to USC, where he spent one season as a defensive intern and recruiting assistant before moving into operations in 2011. Thomas was promoted to assistant director of operations and recruiting in 2012, and parlayed that into a brief stay as Bowling Green's director of recruiting and player personnel. Thomas joined the Tigers' staff in April of 2013.
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Mike Dooley [Clemson], Adrian Mayes [Houston] and Thomas) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.
Thomas will be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention next week.
Previous winners of the Player Personnel Director of the Year award are Tyler Siskey (Alabama) and Mark Pantoni (Ohio State).
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