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
It was at mid-season last year that Daniel Thomas started getting pestered by agents. By the end of the season, he was projected as a third-round draft choice and was encouraged to leave K-State early bypassing his senior season.
Encouraged, but never considered, he says.
"No sir, I didn't think I was ready, but more importantly, I was enjoying the college experience," said Thomas. "I waited my whole life to get here and I was having fun. Kansas State waited on me to get my academics right, so I felt like I owed the school two years.
"My parents brought me up to look at the big picture," Thomas continued. "Sure, I had a good year, but I wanted to be consistent for two years rather than being a one-year wonder."
While the calls from agents were flattering in the beginning, Thomas quickly sent them all to his father, who was stride for stride with the thinking of his son.
"We had the talk, but he said he loved playing for Coach (Bill) Snyder and he owed it to K-State to stay there ... and that was him talking," said Reverend Jerald Thomas. "I just said, 'Son, you couldn't make a better decision.' Kansas State has given Daniel stability and a great opportunity in life to do something he's enjoyed doing.
"I personally felt he needed another year to mature as a young man and not get caught up in the rigors of professionalism," Rev. Thomas said prior to the start of the season. "A lot of players jump the gun, but he's kept his focus, and that focus is on UCLA."
But when that NFL time comes and that first contract is signed, is Rev. Thomas' Elm Grove Baptist Church counting on a hefty donation?
Laughing, Rev. Thomas said, "We've kidded about that. He jokes with his mother every time he asks that money be put in his account. He says, 'Momma, I'm going to pay you back next year.'
"My wife was in the grocery store the other day and someone came up and said, 'Mrs. Thomas, you're going to be a millionaire.' We're all just praying that he stays healthy," Thomas continued. Laughing, he added, "I promise you, Mrs. Thomas doesn't count any eggs until they're in the basket."
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.