By Anthony Casson
College football is a world filled with some amazing talents, on and off the field. Within that world is the newest gem in my line-up, sophomore safety Earl Thomas. E.T., as his nickname goes, is one of Texas’s many star players, but there is a special presence about this young man.
Here’s what you should know…
Thomas, who was part of the 2007 high school graduating class, was handed a redshirt season his first year with Texas. The four-sport letterman and four-star athlete (rivals.com) certainly had the talent to start, but Coach Mack Brown elected to have him build as a defensive back for a year.
Texas’s 2008 season brought a contingency of young defensive talent in the backfield. Of the group was E.T. His 5-10, 197 lb build with 4.4 second 40-speed immediately put him on the starting team.
Thomas’s stats for the whole season included 13 starts at safety (full season), important roles on special teams, 72 tackles (51 solo), 17 passes-broken-up (PBU), two interceptions (both against top-ranked Oklahoma), four forced-fumbles and one blocked punt.
The athlete turned new-safety talent out of Orange, Texas immediately became a fan-favorite in Austin.
So far this season, Thomas has begun to make a national statement. Twice this year he has been crowned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for his performances against UTEP and Oklahoma. He is also in the running for the Jim Thorpe award, which is given at year’s end to the top defensive back.
His statistics have been tremendous thus far. As of week 10, he has 43 tackles (27 solo), 11 PBU, six interceptions and two touchdowns. The first of his two scores came against Colorado when he returned a pick 92 yards (ties for 2nd in Texas history). The second was a 31 yard pick-six at Oklahoma State.
Earl Thomas is a relaxed and cool guy. His teammates and coaches have nothing but positive things to say about him. Much of his easy-going attitude probably has to do with his father who is a pastor at a church. Thomas helps with church events by playing the piano whenever one is available…no singing, mind you, just playing the sounds. If his ability on the field could somehow turn into music, it would definitely be a masterpiece.