Editor's Note: Very few times does a player with the talents of Daniel Thomas come through the Wildcat Nation. "K-State Sports Extra" thought you'd enjoy meeting Mr. Thomas ... the person. We'll introduce K-State's No. 8 to you with a five-part feature this week: The son of a preacher; A lapse in academics; Becoming a Wildcat; Returning as a Wildcat; and, Mr. Humble.
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 sat on his purple chair with his brown eyes drifting eight ... 12 ... 15 years in his personal rearview mirror.
The question Thomas pondered was this: "Daniel, was it tough being the son of a preacher?"
Finally, Thomas softly answered: "Sometimes there was a lot of church. I mean, sometimes there was a lot of church. (Pause) Church ... Sunday school ... Bible study ... vacation Bible school ... more church. Sometimes there was a lot of church."
Thomas offered a soft smile as he added, "Yes sir, there was just a lot of church at times when I wanted to be playing with my friends, but I don't regret any part of my life."
Thomas is the son of the Reverend Jerald Thomas and his wife, Louella. The couple commutes between Hilliard, Fla., located in the far northeast corner of the state where Daniel was raised, up Interstate 95 an hour to Meridian, Ga., where they co-lead the Elm Grove Baptist Church.
Daniel refers to his mother as the "First Lady" of the church and the one who handles the ministries for women, while of his dad, Daniel gives a giggle-laugh as he says, "Now he gets into it up there jumping around and trying to sing. He's not your fiery preacher, but he's also not reserved. He can get worked up, and then when he tries to sing a little bit, he's pretty funny."
Laughing about his own pulpit style, Rev. Thomas said, "Daniel is not too vocal about being spiritual or even football. He's not like me. Maybe I never gave him a chance to talk. I've been known to get a little inspiring ... a little radical."
Poking fun at himself, he continued, "Daniel called one time after going to a church in El Dorado (Kan.) where he was the only African American in attendance. He said, 'Dad, the sermon lasted only 45 minutes. Dad, you could learn something from that.'"
The Thomas family can definitely joke with, and about, one another, but they also are quick, and serious, in giving each other their love and calling each other their hero.
"We're so proud of Daniel and so thankful for his God-given abilities," said Rev. Thomas. "He's been through some tough times in the last few years, but God has been with him. Without God, his acceleration to where his life is today would not have been possible."
Nightly, the Thomas' talk, and nightly they pray with one another.
"Every night," the Wildcat running back emphasized, "we talk about that day and pray for our health and to stay focused on the task at hand. Faith is the foundation of our family."
Rev. Thomas added, "Our family scripture is Psalm 34: 1 - 'I will always thank the Lord, I will never stop praising him.'"
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at email@example.com.