Posted January 9th, 2010 by Brian
Filed under: Feature, Football

Earl Thomas had a Texas record 8 interceptions this season. (Image: Getty)

Earl Thomas had a Texas record 8 interceptions this season. (Image: Getty)

Redshirt sophomore safety [tag]Earl Thomas[/tag] won’t be back in 2010 for the Texas Longhorns. The Thorpe Award finalist out of West Orange-Stark has announced he is leaving school early for the NFL. The news is not unexpected but didn’t think we’d get confirmation so soon.

Earl is projected to be drafted in the middle of the 1st round so this is a good decision for him and for his family. You go to college to prepare yourself for your future career and Thomas has done that (and then some) in his three years at Texas. Athletically he seems ready to play in the league and his biggest negative is his size which wouldn’t improve with more time on campus.

Thomas’ departure leaves the Horns a little thin on experience in the secondary for 2010. At safety, starter [tag]Blake Gideon[/tag] is returning as is the promising [tag]Christian Scott[/tag] but neither has man coverage skills Thomas does. Someone else from the group of guys including [tag]Kenny Vaccaro[/tag] and [tag]Nolan Brewster[/tag] will also need to step up.

Read the official release from MB-TF:

AUSTIN, Texas — Redshirt sophomore safety Earl Thomas (Orange, Texas/West Orange Stark High School) has elected to leave school early and enter the 2010 NFL Draft, the consensus first-team All-American and Thorpe Award finalist said on Friday.

“I want to thank Coach Brown, Coach Muschamp, Coach Akina and everyone at Texas,” Thomas said. “I had a great time for three years at UT. Everyone there helped me work towards my dream of playing in the NFL and giving me a chance to support my family. It was a tough decision because we’re like brothers here, especially in the DB room, and I’m really going to miss playing with all of the guys. I received some individual honors this year, but I have to give credit to the rest of the defense because I couldn’t have done any of it without them.”

Thomas, the fourth defensive back in the Mack Brown era to be named a Thorpe Award finalist (nation’s top defensive back), started all 27 games of his Texas career, posting 149 tackles, eight TFL, 10 interceptions, 33 PBU, five forced fumbles and a blocked punt.

“The last two years, the team has done great,” he added. “We got to play in a lot of big-time games, won a Big 12 Championship and just got done playing for the National Championship. I think all of those experiences have helped prepare me for the next level.”

Thomas was a consensus first-team All-America selection and Thorpe Award finalist in 2009 after notching 77 tackles, five TFL and 16 PBU. He also broke Texas’ longest-standing school record with eight INTs, eclipsing the mark of seven that was originally set by Noble Doss in 1940. The mark was tied four times but never broken until Thomas this year. His two interception returns for TDs in 2009 also set a UT record. Thomas registered 72 tackles, two interceptions, 17 PBU (No. 1 on UT’s all-time freshman list), three TFL, four forced fumbles and a blocked punt en route to Freshman All-American honors as a redshirt freshman in 2008.

“Now, I’ve got to start working out and getting ready for the draft,” Thomas said. “Being a DB from Texas, you know you have a reputation to live up to with all the Horns in the NFL already, so I’m going to work as hard as I can to make everyone proud. Even though I’m leaving Texas now, I’ll be a Longhorn for life and I definitely plan on getting my degree. I’m going to work with the people at UT to make sure I come up with a plan to get that done.”

Seven of UT defensive backs coach Duane Akina’s former Longhorns are currently playing in the NFL. The group includes Tarell Brown (San Francisco 49ers), Cedric Griffin (Minnesota Vikings), Michael Griffin (Tennessee Titans), Michael Huff (Oakland Raiders), Quentin Jammer (San Diego Chargers), Aaron Ross (New York Giants) and Nathan Vasher (Chicago Bears). All seven have served as NFL starters.

“We appreciate everything Earl has done for Texas and want to wish him all of the best,” said Brown. “He has been a great player for us and more importantly a tremendous person, student and representative of our program. We thank him, support him and look forward to following his career in the NFL.”

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6 Comments

  1. reply to  #1

    Matt

    That sucks. Kept up hope but definitely the right move for him.

  2. reply to  #2

    Brian

    @Matt:Yep. Can’t fault him at all. Especially after hearing how his family lived at a Motel 6 for a year after Hurricane Rita.

  3. reply to  #3

    dajhanai skinner

    that’s no way to talk about our FAMILY BRIAN ! we are thankful for what our cousin EARL has become……love always Da’jhanai:)

  4. reply to  #4

    dajhanai skinner

    so PLEASE get away with all the HATETRESS !

  5. reply to  #5

    Brian

    @dajhanai skinner: What on Earth are you talking about? I said I understood his decision and wished him luck.

  6. reply to  #6

    Da'jhanai

    I am very sorry Brian, i was mad at the time, i must have missread the comment you posted !!!

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