Wide receiver Jeff Thomas announced in an Instagram post on Tuesday that he plans to return to Miami and not transfer to Illinois.
"Tuff [sic] decision. But I have decided to keep playing Football and earning my Degree at The University of Miami," Thomas wrote. "Huge Thanks to the University of Illinois for giving me the opportunity to accomplish my future dreams."
Thomas announced in December that he was transferring to Illinois and told The News-Gazette on Monday that he was on his way and could start classes on Tuesday.
Miami dismissed Thomas in November before the team's regular-season finale against Pittsburgh.
"We have high standards for excellence, for conduct and for committment to team for all of the young men who wear our uniform, and we will not waiver from those standards," head coach Mark Richt said then in a statement. "We wish Jeff the very best as he moves forward in his journey."
Richt retired after the Hurricanes' 35–3 loss to Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl, and Miami quickly named Manny Diaz as Richt's successor. Diaz had taken a head coaching job with Temple on Dec. 13 and went back to the Hurricanes only 17 days after accepting the position.
In 2017, Thomas emerged as a star at Miami and was featured with his East St. Louis High football team on FOX's documentary 89 Blocks. Produced by Sports Illustrated, LeBron James and Maverick Carter's Uninterrupted, the film included how Thomas missed a game after being absent from a string of practices. His teammates even voted on whether or not he could keep his roster spot, while his coaches said he often hid "behind walls he's built to protect himself from a harsh environment."
Thomas continued his strong run with the Hurricanes in 2018 and recorded 35 catches for 563 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games.