orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Sports Headlines

June 19, 2009

UT's Thomas come home to aid Football Camp

WEST ORANGE — He may sport burnt orange these days and has picked up Freshman All-American honors but Earl Thomas will always be a Mustang first.

Thomas and a handful of his Texas Longhorns teammates were instructing at the Dan R. Hooks Football Camp at West Orange-Stark High School Friday and having a blast.

“I was blessed so much when I was growing up, having a community that had my back in everything I wanted to accomplish,” said Thomas. “I always want to be someone that can come back to the community and give back to it.”

Thomas was concentrating on the receivers and defensive backs Friday morning, something he definitely specialized on during his high school days.

“The turnout out here is great,” said Thomas. “These kids have so much spirit and energy. They sit back and listen and soak it all in.”

Thomas, along with Longhorn teammates Greg Timmons, Gary Matthews and James Kirkendoll were on hand to help the kids.

“We’re all loving it, being here,” said Thomas. “We’re all still kids at heart. We remember looking up to some of our favorite players growing up. It’s humble, when you think about it.”

Thomas, as a redshirt freshman last season, was named to the Football Writers Association of America, College Football News and Sporting News Freshman All-American teams.

Thomas, The Orange Leader’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2007, was the 20th Longhorn to earn Freshman All-America honors during the Mack Brown era and the third member of the secondary along with defensive back Michael Huff (2002) and safety Dakarai Pearson (2000).

An honorable mention All-Big 12 selection, Thomas started all 13 games in 2008 and finished second on the team in tackles with 72, 51 of them solo.

He set a Texas freshman record with 17 pass breakups and tied for fourth on UT's freshman list with two interceptions, which both came in Texas’ victory over Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry.

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