LSU is finalizing a deal to bring Austin Thomas in to take a top role in its player personnel department, according to multiple reports.
Thomas’ role will deal with scouting, evaluating prospects and recruiting, among other things. He’ll play a key role in building the team and determining the direction of the program.
Thomas has worked in a similar capacity for LSU in the past, where he served under various titles with the team as the director of player personnel and general manager from the 2013 season through the 2017 season.
He later returned as general manager for the 2021 season but was not retained by new head coach Brian Kelly when he was hired to replace former coach Ed Orgeron.
Hiring Thomas fills a need after LSU had its top three player personnel executives hired away in the last few days, with director Will Redmond going to Auburn, associate director Mike Ferrera taking a job at Indiana and assistant director Jeremiah Bogan leaving for UConn.
While with LSU in 2015, Thomas was named the Player Personnel Director of the Year by FootballScoop, an award that Redmond also received with the Tigers in 2022.
Thomas was most recently at Ole Miss as the football chief of staff for the past two seasons, aiding in building a roster that went 11-2 this year and ranked No. 9 in the AP poll at the close of the season. He’s also helped assemble the No. 1 incoming transfer class according to 247Sports this offseason for the Rebels.
At Ole Miss, Thomas worked with head coach Lane Kiffin, with whom he has a long-standing relationship. Thomas also was on Kiffin’s staff at Tennessee in 2009 and at USC from the 2010 season through the 2012 season.
He had brief stints as associate athletic director for Texas A&M for the 2018 and 2019 seasons before taking a job as the senior associate athletic director at Baylor in 2020.
Thomas’ hire is another change in an offseason of shakeup for Kelly and LSU, as the team has also hired six new assistant coaches, mostly on the defensive side of the ball. It also continues a trend of hires with LSU and Louisiana ties.
Last season, LSU finished 10-3 and No. 12 in the AP poll, which was considered underachieving given the team’s preseason expectations and offensive talent.
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