SPOTLIGHT: Commitment And Compassion: A Winning Combination

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Devin Thomas
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Devin Thomas
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Sept. 12, 2012

By Lauren McMillin
Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations

If you are walking through the Ole Miss campus on any given Saturday after a home football game, you probably won’t expect to find one of your senior Rebel football players volunteering on Grove clean-up duties.  But that’s exactly where you might find running back Devin Thomas. Thomas understands the difference that giving back can make. For Thomas, giving back is a way of life.

Serving the community is a passion that Thomas discovered long before stepping onto the Ole Miss campus.

“It started back in high school,” he said. “I always wanted to give back to my community because of everything my community back in San Antonio, Texas, gave me. I’m fortunate just to help out people who aren’t as fortunate as me.”

Since becoming a student at Ole Miss, Thomas has joined a variety of programs, each serving the community in a different way. From food and clothing drives through the National Society of Collegiate Scholars to programs such as Relay for Life and Reading with the Rebels, Thomas has made a point to reach out to those around him.

“My fraternity has a program called Project Alpha,” Thomas said. “It’s basically talking to inner-city youths, showing them how to become a young adult in college, how to make sure their lives are successful so they don’t drop out or get into the wrong crowd. I feel like that helps kids.”

Thomas’ efforts to help the community have not gone unnoticed.  In2012 he was nominated for the SEC’s Brad Davis Community Service Postgraduate Scholarship, an award covering all sports. Most recently, he received Ole Miss’ nomination for the AFCA Good Works Team, an honor that Thomas feels is one of his proudest accomplishments off the football field.

“It’s a blessing,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting it. Anybody else could have gotten it. I know a lot of athletes who do community service.”

While Thomas has earned recognition for his ongoing volunteerism, he has received credit for his academic record, as well. A geology major, Thomas has made appearances on both the Chancellor’s Honor Roll and Dean’s Honor Roll. Additionally, he has been a member of the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll the past three seasons.  
this past year he was also named to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Fortunately for the Rebels, Thomas also uses his work ethic to make on the field.  In 2011, he played in all 12 games, earning his third letter. Thomas also scored his first touchdown as a Rebel, a goal that he had been patiently waiting to reach. “I’d been waiting to score a touchdown since I got here,” he said. “It took four years, but I finally got one.”

Balancing the demands of both football and academics is an important skill that Thomas has learned throughout his college career. His secret to success? “Time management,” Thomas said. “Having to manage my time, studying after practice. I know one day football is going to end, and I need a degree. Academics have been a big part of my life.”

This drive for excellence, both on and off the field, began when Thomas was a young boy. “I was seven years old the first time I played football,” he said. “I brought home a D from school. My mom said that if I made another D, she would take me out of football.   I loved football, so I knew academics had to be just as important.”

Thomas influenced by, understanding the significance of working hard and supporting others.

“I looked up to my dad, how he was always working, trying to support my mom and me,” Thomas said. “The person I look up to the most, though, is my mom. She’s just a great mother, my best friend. She’s always been there for me, when I’ve been at my highs and my lows. My mom is the biggest influence right now, and she always will be.”

The guidance of his parents taught Thomas the importance of reaching out to help others. “My parents always talked about if you have a chance, give back to somebody, always give back.”

This same perspective still remains with Thomas today. Just as his parents inspired him, Thomas hopes that others will be encouraged to serve their communities, as well. “It’s almost a necessity,” he said. “If you can give back, I would say give back. You never know what can happen, only God does. One day you could be struck down with cancer or your situation isn’t turning out like you want, but if somebody is giving back to you, cheering you up, then I feel like you should do the same. It’s just a blessing to be able to give back.”

As he plans for the future, Thomas is focused on a strong finish at Ole Miss.  Scheduled to graduate in December, he hopes his final year with the Rebels is a victorious one. “On the field, I just want to have a winning season go to another bowl game,” he said.  

After graduation, he plans to try out for the NFL in the spring.   As an alternative, Thomas thinks graduate school is a great option.  Whatever happens, he is certain that his passion for serving others will never fade.

“I don’t know where I’m going to end up, but wherever I go, I’m going to look for community service,” he said. “I can’t stop giving back.”

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Aug. 25-31)

      Monday, September 1, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewAug. 25-31, 2014Football- No. 18 Ole Miss opened the 2014 season with a 35-13 win over Boise State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Atlanta's Georgia Dome.- The Rebels led 7-6 entering the fourth quarter... read more

    • ESPN's Chucky Mullins Documentary to Debut Thursday

      Monday, September 1, 2014 - Football

      The SEC Storied documentary "It's Time," centered on the the inspirational friendship between former Vanderbilt football player Brad Gaines and former Ole Miss football player Chucky Mullins, will premiere on Tuesday on the Vanderbilt campus and will debut on... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House - Aug. 31

      Sunday, August 31, 2014 - Athletics

      This is a new concept we've created for the Ole Miss Sports Blog that we're calling Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations... read more

    • What They're Saying: Ole Miss-Boise State

      Friday, August 29, 2014 - Football

      The No. 18 Ole Miss football team won the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game defeating Boise State 35-13. The Rebels move into Southeastern Conference next week with a road test at Vanderbilt from Nashville's LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans. The... read more

    • 'The New Normal' on Defense

      Friday, August 29, 2014 - Football

      ATLANTA -- Boise State had been the highest scoring team in the nation, averaging 40.2 points per game dating back to the 2000 season.  Highlighted by four interceptions, eight tackles for loss and big hits by several different players, the... read more

    • Second-Half Surge for Rebel Offense

      Friday, August 29, 2014 - Football

      ATLANTA -- After an up-and-down first half, which included a touchdown and three interceptions, senior quarterback Bo Wallace and the Ole Miss offense found their stride in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter. Leading 7-6 early in the... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss-Boise State Motivational

      Thursday, August 28, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss vs Boise State Official Team Motivational '14 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-Boise State

      Thursday, August 28, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as Ole Miss opens its 2014 season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against Boise State from Atlanta's Georgia Dome. Contrast in Experience Boise State has one of the youngest teams in the country with 67 freshmen... read more

    • Volleyball Opens Steven McRoberts Era

      Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - Volleyball

      Here are three pieces to keep in mind as we look ahead to the Ole Miss volleyball team's season-opening weekend in Buffalo, New York, starting with Canisius on Friday morning, the first of four matches over three days at the... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 1

      Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 1 (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Dome, Sweet Dome for Atlanta Area Rebels

      Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - Football

      For high school football players in Georgia, all roads lead to the Georgia Dome and the state championships.  For a handful of Rebels, those roads lead home, as Ole Miss opens the 2014 season against Boise State in the Chick-fil-A... read more

    • VIDEO: Forward Together Construction Update

      Monday, August 25, 2014 - Athletics

      read more

    • Relentless is the Word on Defense

      Sunday, August 24, 2014 - Football

      ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy asked each of the 65 coaches from the Power Five conferences to describe their team in one word.  Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's word? Relentless. The same can be said of the Ole Miss defense.  And... read more

    • McCormick, Defense Shine in Win

      Sunday, August 24, 2014 - Soccer

      After playing 110 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Georgia on Friday night, Ole Miss responded with a gutsy 1-0 win over Iowa State on Sunday afternoon. The defense, led by senior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick was the story of the... read more

    • Rebels Battle to Draw on Historic Night

      Friday, August 22, 2014 -

      Big time crowd for @SECNetwork live sports event debut. Record attendance of 1,823 for @OleMissSoccer Let's finish strong.-- Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) August 23, 2014 Ole Miss kicked off the 2014 season in thrilling fashion, rallying to a 1-1 draw with... read more