It’s always refreshing when you read stories about athletes playing the game for the right reasons.
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to chat with Stanford senior FS Michael Thomas for a ‘Where Are They Now?’ feature. In what was initially supposed to be a four-seven minute phone interview, it quickly turned into a much longer interview.
After speaking with Thomas, it was easy to understand that he had a passion for the game of football while having a complete understanding about the importance and value of an education. Essentially, Thomas defines what it means to be a student-athlete in a time in which college sports seems to be more of a business than what it truly is – a game.
Below are the first few paragraphs from the article, enjoy.
The Year of the Cardinal
by Austin Staton
In the fall of 2007, Michael Thomas was just hoping for a shot to play collegiate football.
Four years later, the 5-foot-11 product of Nimitz High School is one game away from capping back-to-back 12-1 seasons to end his illustrious career at Stanford University.
“It’s crazy to think about the journey that I’ve had,” said Thomas. “Four years ago I was hoping to just get a chance to earn a scholarship and now I am the co-captain of a BCS football team. All of the hard work that we put into the program is paying off.”
As the starting quarterback at Nimitz, Thomas was the overlooked signal caller that played in the competitive district 17-4A – the same division that featured two-time Heisman trophy finalist Andrew Luck, Darron Thomas (Oregon) and Ken Guiton (Ohio State).
Recruited as an athlete by Boise State, Missouri, Northwestern and Vanderbilt, Thomas ultimately found his niche as a Cardinal. In a program that was reeling but had shown promise in the previous year with a monumental upset of top-ranked Southern California, snapping a 35-game home winning streak, Thomas wanted to be a component in the restoration of a proud and tradition-rich program.
“When I got to Stanford we had talent but the guys didn’t know how to win yet,” Thomas explained. “Coach (Jim) Harbaugh did a great job to get the guys to believe that, in order to compete, we’d have to work. It wasn’t about the stars when it came to our recruiting class; it was the type of guys that were recruited.
“I didn’t want to go to a program that was already established or all about hype. I wanted to go some place where we could work and make our own story. We all had in our minds when we got here that we were going to change this program and find a way to win. We weren’t going to accept failure.”
Read the rest of the feature here.