Senior tailback Devin Thomas was named the Southeastern Conference Football Community Service Team Player of the Week on Wednesday.
The San Antonio, Texas native might not see a ton of action on Saturdays, but his hard work off the football field has made an impression on many around the community.
Thomas said he knew he always wanted to give back in any way possible. He said it’s always been his goal to help people.
“It’s a blessing by God….It’s a blessing that I can give back to people and help the ones out that are less fortunate than me,” Thomas explained. “That’s always been a dream of mine. I’ve always wanted to give back.”
According to Thomas, there’s no better feeling than realizing you just helped someone in a time of struggle.
“I had everything I needed, maybe not everything I wanted. But some people don’t even have the essentials….When you help someone and you see their face light up, it sends joy through you,” he related.
Thomas has been very busy in his four years at Ole Miss. He’s participated in Toys for Tots, “Reading with the Rebels” where he reads to elementary school children and he’s even volunteered to clean up the Grove after games on Saturday.
He’s spent time with children at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital along with the SEC’s “Together We Can” food drive and Relay for Life. Thomas has spent time mentoring inner-city youth around the area.
Thomas is a member of the Ole Miss Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Student-Athlete Welfare Committee, as well.
Ole Miss offensive coordinator Dan Werner said Thomas is the type player you love having on your team. He said he might not win you a football game, but he keeps people closer together.
“He’s such a good guy. He works so hard. Everybody believes in what he does and everybody likes Devin,” Werner said.
Thomas believes he influences some of the younger guys on the Ole Miss football team. They might be ahead of him on the depth chart, but he said he tries reminding them to stay humble.
“I don’t play as much on Saturdays, but I see myself more as a leader at practice. I think I’m a role model when it comes to going to class and making the grades,” Thomas explained. “When younger players see me, they realize there’s a life outside of football.”
Thomas said he tells younger players to never miss a class. He tells them their football career is bright, but you never know when something can happen and there is no more football.
“I try to help them. I tell them it’s important to get your degree. You’re a student first….You don’t want to go to the league, and when you get done you don’t have anything to fall back on,” Thomas said.
Thomas is a major in Geology and has been named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll every year from 2009-2012.