Born: May 7, 1989
Birthplace: Orange, TX
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
Earl Winty Thomas III (born May 7, 1989) is an American football free safety for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft and would later assist with the team's first Super Bowl victory in Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos. He played college football at Texas and received consensus All-American honors.
Thomas attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he played for coach Mack Brown's Texas Longhorns football team from 2007 to 2009. After redshirting his first year at Texas, Thomas started all 13 games at strong safety for the Longhorns in 2008, and ranked second on the team with 63 combined tackles and 17 pass breakups, the most ever by a Longhorn freshman. He also had two interceptions, four forced fumbles, and a blocked kick. Thomas subsequently earned multiple All-Freshman honors, as he was named to FWAA's Freshman All-America team, Sporting News′ Freshman All-American team. College Football News′ All-Freshman first team, and Rivals.com′s Freshman All-America team.
As a redshirt sophomore in 2009, Thomas intercepted eight passes, returning two of them for touchdowns. The Longhorns were undefeated in the regular season and Thomas played in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game where they lost to Alabama. Thomas chose to forgo his final two seasons of eligibility at Texas to declare for the 2010 NFL Draft where he was the third defensive back taken after Eric Berry and Joe Haden.
On January 8, 2010, Thomas released a statement through the University of Texas which announced his decision to forgo his remaining eligibility and enter the 2010 NFL Draft. He attended the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and completed the majority of drills, but chose to skip the short shuttle and three-cone drill. On March 31, 2010, he participated at Texas' pro day and improved his 40-yard dash (4.37s), 20-yard dash (2.47s), and 10-yard dash (1.49s). Thomas sustained a hamstring injury during his workout and was unable to complete his entire performance.
He attended pre-draft visits and private workouts with multiple teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, and Miami Dolphins. At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Thomas was projected to be a first round pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked as the top safety in the draft by NFL analyst Mike Mayock, was ranked the second best safety by NFL analyst Mel Kiper Jr. and ESPN Scouts Inc., and was ranked the second best cornerback prospect by DraftScout.com.
Personal Life and Family
Thomas attended West Orange-Stark High School in Orange, Texas, where he played for the West Orange-Stark Mustangs high school football team. While there, he was an all-state selection and three-year starter at defensive back, running back and wide receiver. He recorded 112 career tackles with 11 interceptions, two kickoff return touchdowns and two punt return touchdowns, while also having 1,850 rushing yards and 2,140 receiving yards in his career.
Also a standout athlete, Thomas was on the school's track & field team, where he competed as a sprinter and jumper, and was a member of the 4 × 200 meters relay team that reached the state finals, at 1:27.92. He finished second in the long jump at the 2007 Region 3-3A Meet, with a personal-best mark of 7.14 meters.
Considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, Thomas was ranked as the No. 12 athlete in 2007.