One of the oddest stories of the year just took another odd twist: CB Ian Thomas, who left the team earlier this season to reportedly play baseball, has returned to the team on a conditional basis. Thomas, who claimed he simply wanted to play football closer to home, was one of the better cornerbacks and was in position to become a career starter until the NFL came calling.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Ian Thomas' return will be an interesting dynamic. He did quit on the team in the middle of the year, but <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Rutgers&src=hash">#Rutgers</a> desperately needs CB help</p>— Matt Sugam (@MattSugam) <a href="https://twitter.com/MattSugam/statuses/423871505034792960">January 16, 2014</a></blockquote>
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The biggest question is how Thomas will be welcomed back inside the locker room. Some players will obviously be resentful for what appeared to be Thomas quitting on the team, especially after a disastrous game against Louisville. Graduating senior and former captain Jamal Merrell expects most of his teammates to welcome him back with open arms however, citing that family atmosphere at Rutgers as evidence.
The conditions of his return are still unknown, but the bottom line is that this move greatly helps the Scarlet Knights in arguably the biggest area of need - the secondary. Thomas most likely would have finished as the top corner on the depth chart, so his return bolsters a unit that was looking incredibly weak entering the offseason. The spring game depth chart will be telling how much he will contribute next year.