Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks: #29 in your Super Bowl programs, but #12 in your heart.
Thomas is one of three former Longhorns playing in this game, but unless you’re really been up on the day to day roster news for the Denver, you may not realize that Quentin Jammer and Michael Huff play for the Broncos. You know that Earl Thomas plays for the Seahawks. Just follow the football.
Seattle may well not be in this game without Earl Thomas. The two most critical regular season games the Seahawks played were in early September, and Thomas shined. Up just 5 points on the road in Carolina, Thomas forced a fumble on running back DeAngelo Williams inside the Seattle 10 yard line, which the Seahawks recovered to preserve the victory. Six weeks later, Thomas made an incredible athletic interception off Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer to spearhead another road victory. He is the main piece of Seattle’s top ranked and historically strong pass defense.
Earl Thomas committed to Texas prior to his Senior year at West Orange-Stark High School just six weeks following the National Championship victory in 2006. He signed and redshirted the 2007 season. A two-way player in high school, the Longhorns had Thomas focus on defense. He started the first game he played in.
Thomas started his age 19 and 20 seasons at Texas in 2008 and 2009. He was named an unanimous first team Freshman All-American as a safety in 2008. One year later, Thomas picked off eight passes. He was voted a consensus All-American. Thomas started 27 games at Texas. The Longhorns won 25 of them. Thomas’ Longhorn run was short lived, relatively speaking, but that was the peak of the Mack Brown era, and the winningest consecutive seasons in program history.
To declare for the 2010 NFL draft meant that Thomas had to forego his final two years of NCAA eligibility, but Seattle selected him 14th overall. He was still two weeks shy of his 21st birthday. After a rookie season in which the Seahawks won the division, Thomas was in the running for defensive rookie of the year, an award that was handed Ndamukong Suh near unanimously. He was voted the #66 best player in the NFL by his peers in both 2011 and 2012. Just 24 years of age, Thomas will be starting in his 7th NFL playoff game on Super Bowl Sunday.
Earl Thomas is the most physically gifted player on the NFL’s most physically gifted defense, and if you want to see him in action on Sunday, just follow the football. It will take you to him.