From 1976 through 1980, Philip Thomas was an offensive lineman with the Monsters of the Midway. Thirty years later, he is in El Paso to watch his son play cornerback for the UTEP Miners. When he talks about his son, his pride is obvious. It is a pride in a son who has worked hard both on the field and off. It is a pride in a son who has overcome obstacles that could have been excuses to achieve less, but became challenges mastered. It is a pride in a son, without any claim to credit for himself. He goes out of his way to make it clear that his son deserves all of the credit for what he has been able to accomplish is his young life, and to get him to where he is now. It is his son that has taken his own path that has prepared him to make his first start at right cornerback to open the 2010 season this Saturday against Arkansas Pine Bluff.
As a child, Drew was steered away from football, rather than being pushed into it. He began playing tennis at the tennis club his parents belonged to. He played well enough to make the Junior National Tennis Team. But, he was drawn to football. He excelled in the classroom, allowing him to skip a grade and graduate from high school a year early. He played football well enough, and combined with his excellence in the classroom, to be chosen by the Air Force Academy to play for the Falcons.
Once he got to the Air Force Academy, he realized that it just wasn’t for him. He left Colorado Springs, transferring to UTEP as a walk-on. At UTEP he had to start over. He did what he had always done before. He worked hard in the classroom and on the football field. Forced to redshirt because of the transfer, he was chosen as UTEP’s Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year. In his freshman season he played in three games, and was named to the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
On Saturday, he will realize a dream he has had for years. He will be making his first start in Division I (FBS) football. He once told his father that he played better when his father is there with him. On Saturday, a very proud papa will be there and his son will know that his biggest fan is with him. As a matter of fact, he can count on his dad being at all of his games. There is no place on earth his father would rather be. How proud is Philip Thomas? I think his own words say it best.
“If I had to write a list of characteristics I would want in a child, he would blow that list out of the water.”
Watch the entire interview here;
Here is Drew’s interview. He talks about how improved the defense is, his tennis, and his new home, El Paso, Texas.;
Drew Thomas Interview