The son of Southern Baptist ministers Jerald and Louella Thomas, K-State's "DT" leads his total life through this scripture: "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men." -- Colossians 3:23
By Mark Janssen
Daniel Thomas' arrival in Manhattan, Kan., and on the Kansas State campus, took enough detours to make the healthiest Christian perhaps question his faith.
But not Thomas.
"I knew everything that was happening was my doing. It was a time I personally turned away from God some, so how could I question him or anyone else?"
A native of Hilliard, Fla., it was only natural that Thomas first wanted to attend Florida or Florida State.
While saying he maintained a solid 2.5 in the classroom, three straight ACT scores of 16 - when an 18 was needed - sent him to Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia, Miss.
Shaking his head in disgust at himself, Thomas said, "Those tests were so long. After a while, I'd just start filling in the boxes. I've kicked myself many times for that."
In his freshman year at junior college, Thomas verbally committed to Ole Miss, but adds, "That's when I started getting lazy and not going to class. When I tried to turn it around, it was too late."
In fact, faulty academics kept Thomas on the Northwest Mississippi campus for a total of five semesters, all while fielding weekly recruiting calls from the likes of Baylor, Oklahoma and Kansas State.
"OU wanted me to play safety, and I was pretty good on defense in high school," said Thomas. "But mainly, I was just wowed to have a scholarship offer from Oklahoma."
But after recruiting visits to the Norman campus and Manhattan, Thomas said, "There was never a question. It's a cliché, but it did feel like family here. Josh Freeman was my host and I just felt at home."
Still, Thomas wasn't eligible, so he enrolled at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan., in the winter of 2009 where he took a college algebra course online through BYU, plus a history of physical education class, and later that summer, a leadership class at Manhattan Christian College before getting the NCAA clearance to officially become a Wildcat.
Thomas' advice today to young high school students: "Don't wait until the last minute to try to become eligible. Don't get lazy. Don't get behind. Focus on your studies from the beginning."
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