Austin Thomas signs up for second tour of duty as LSU football general manager

LSU football coach Ed Orgeron is getting good at this re-recruiting stuff.

After convincing his entire offensive and defensive lines to return for 2021, he persuaded a key former staff member to return to the Tigers’ fold.

Austin Thomas is back for his second stint as general manager as the Tigers’ football team, Orgeron announced on Wednesday.

Thomas’ first stay at LSU was 2013-17, serving as a staff member before being promoted to general manager by Orgeron in 2016. Thomas was the first general manager in the history of the Southeastern Conference and one of only two with that title in college football.

Now back as LSU’s GM, Thomas will work directly with Orgeron on the day-to-day operations and program management.

“It’s great to have Austin back with us,” Orgeron said. “He’s going to do an outstanding job with the day-to-day operations of our program. He’s bright, understands what it takes to be successful at the highest level of college athletics and will work closely with me to ensure that everything we do is geared towards winning more championships.”

Thomas served as the associate athletic director for football personnel at Texas A&M for two years in 2018-19, then spent last season as senior associate athletic director for football at Baylor under first-year head coach and former LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.

Now, he’s found his way back to LSU.

“My family and I are humbled and excited to return to Baton Rouge and for the opportunity to serve as the general manager for the LSU football program,” Thomas said. “We are forever grateful to Coach Orgeron, Scott Woodward, the LSU administration and the entire LSU community for this opportunity and for welcoming us with open arms.

“I am greatly looking forward to working and growing alongside Coach Orgeron, the LSU coaching staff, players and support staff to accomplish our goals as an organization. I feel blessed to serve this great University, the state of Louisiana and its wonderful people on a daily basis. I do not take this responsibility lightly and I look forward to upholding the ‘LSU Standard of Performance’ in order to make Louisiana proud of its flagship institution. Geaux Tigers!”

In his first two seasons at LSU, Thomas helped the Tigers gather top five signing classes in 2014 and 2015, which included signing running back Leonard Fournette, the nation’s top overall high school player in 2014. He was named the Personnel Director of the Year in 2015 and a finalist for the award in 2014.

Thomas was well-respected during his first LSU stay.

In a January 2015 profile of Thomas by former Tiger Rag editor Cody Worsham, Thomas earned high praise from recruiting guru Jimmy Smith of and and now editor of, the website covering LSU sports.

“Austin Thomas is one of the key pieces to keeping everything together for LSU, he’s really made an impact,” Smith said. “And it’s behind the scenes. You don’t get to hear about him too much, because not many people know what goes on behind the scenes.

“His eyes are often the first ones to see the tape on these kids. He watches probably more film than anyone in the state. He plays a key role in who they identify and who they recruit. He just gets it all done, and he never seems overworked.”


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Ron Higgins

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