Thomas: A Lapse in Faith, Focus
"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." 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.