At 5-10, 210 with a combination of speed and power, he was one of the best football players to ever grace a football field in the State of Texas. A member of the UIL Top 100 as a player, he rushed for over 8400 career yards on 814 career rush attempts and scored 115 touchdowns for the Groveton Indians. He is Rodney Thomas.
Thomas helped lead the Indians to back-to-back 2A state titles in 1989 and 1990, and to 32 consecutive wins.
1989 Season (16-0)
Thomas rushed for 2916 yards and 43 touchdowns while scoring 260 points. Their defense was pretty solid too, pitching four shutouts, outscoring those opponents 200-0. The Indians scored 44 points per game on offense, while allowing a measly 7 points per game on defense.
Trinity W 35-7
Corrigan-Camden W 41-6
Diboll W 46-14
Buffalo W 59-0
Jewett Leon W 32-0
Grapeland W 22-14
Centerville W 74-0
Elkhart W 30-2
Lovelady W 52-19
Alto W 62-13
Hull-Daisetta W 55-3
Overton W 39-15
Cooper W 82-6
Corrigan-Camden W 35-0
Schulenburg W 48-20
Lorena W 20-13 (2A State Championship Game)
Against Lorena in the title game, Thomas ran for 221 yards and a touchdown and Groveton held Lorena scoreless in the 4th quarter.
Thomas was named 1st Team All-State.
1990 Season (16-0)
In the ’90 season, Thomas executed a “scorched earth” campaign, rushing for 3701 yards (led the nation) on 342 rushing attempts and scored 49 touchdowns. He scored 304 points and had 16 100-yard rushing games.
Against Centerville, Thomas rushed for 421 yards.
The Indians steamrolled through their regular season schedule on their way to another playoff appearance, and another state title.
In the 2A title game against DeLeon, Thomas scored two touchdowns, one on a 20-yard run and the other on 82-yard kickoff return in a 25-19 win and a second straight 2A state championship.
Thomas left in his wake nothing but a trail of would-be tacklers and chewed-up ground on his way to winning the 2A Offensive Player of the Year Award, and 1st Team All-American by Super Prep Magazine
He signed to play college ball at Texas A&M.
In four years with the Aggies, Thomas rushed for 3014 career yards and 41 touchdowns (2nd all-time in school history). He was selected All-SWC in 1993 and 1994.
He shared time in a backfield that included Greg Hill and Leeland McElroy and still managed to rank 2nd in the SWC conference with 13 TDs in 1992, 2nd in rushing yards (996) and rushing TDs (13) in 1993, and tied for 1st in touchdowns (12) and ranked 2nd in the conference in rushing yards (868) in 1994.
During his time in College Station, Thomas was part of a program that never lost at Kyle Field and went 28-0-1 in the old Southwest Conference (SWC).
Thomas played with determination and courage, and led by example. As a result, he was the recipient of the Aggie Heart Award in 1994.
7 Years in the NFL
Thomas was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the 1995 NFL Draft and played seven years in the pros. His stats: 1973 career rushing yards and 12 TDs.
He retired from the NFL in 2002.
The Person and the Player, Celebrated and Remembered
In 2002, Thomas was inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame.
Sadly, he passed away of a heart attack in 2014 at the age of 41. He is remembered as a person who was unselfish, kind, and considerate to all who met him.