A pre-med major, the senior from Sumner, Wash., earns first of what is expected to be numerous accolades for off-the-field achievement
Senior offensive tackle Chris Thomas has been named as one of 106 nominees nationwide for the Allstate/American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team®.
The honor embodies the true spirit of teamwork and ‘giving back' through selfless contributions and commendable acts of kindness. During the 2009 season, a voting panel will select two 11-player teams -- one composed of players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and a combined team representing players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III, and the NAIA.
Thomas is a 2005 graduate of Sumner (Wash.) High School and is a biology/pre-med major with a 3.78 grade point average, Thomas hopes to become a doctor, either as an orthopedic surgeon, anesthesiologist, or primary care physician.
Highly-honored already for his academic success, last spring he was presented with the Eastern Athletics Student-Athlete Advisory Council "Triple-Threat Citizen" award at the first-annual Eastern Athletics EeeWoos award show. Besides being honored for his athletics and academic success, the award recognized him for his community service that included multiple blood drives he organized and volunteer work at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane.
"Chris is an amazing student-athlete with how he goes above and beyond," said Eagle head coach Beau Baldwin. "He is a high achiever in the classroom and is a leader on the field and in the weight room, but he also organizes blood drives and other community service projects. He not only is a part of it, but he'll run it -- he'll get the groups together, make telephone calls and organize it. He keeps busy and is the epitome of what you would consider a true student-athlete. He's a great representative of our program and I've been extremely pleased with everything he's done."
An honorable mention All-Big Sky tackle last year and a preseason all-league pick this season, the 6-foot-5, 300-pound Thomas enters his senior season with 18 career starts for the Eagles. He helped block for an Eagle offense that finished 2008 with the seventh-best passing offense in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (299.9 yards per game) and was also 24th in total offense (398.5).
"He's our most veteran offensive lineman coming back," Baldwin added. "He's definitely a leader of that group and the other players know that. He's going to be huge -- he was a great player last year and I'm expecting even greater things out of him this year."
#71 Chris Thomas
OL, 6-5, 300, Sr., Sumner, Wash.
Career: He has started a total of 18 games at Eastern, which will be the most for an EWU offensive linemen when the Eagles start the 2009 season. 2009: Listed as a starter at right offensive tackle on EWU's preseason depth chart. In the spring, he was presented with the Eastern Athletics Student-Athlete Advisory Council "Triple-Threat Citizen" award at the first-annual Eastern Athletics EeeWoos award show. He was honored for his athletics and academic success, as well as for his community service that included multiple blood drives he organized and volunteer work at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane. 2008: Was selected to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII as selected by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Named to the Big Sky Conference All-Academic team. Earned honorable mention All-Big Sky Conference honors. Started all 11 games at right offensive tackle and was the team's offensive player of the week for his blocking against Montana (8/11/08). He helped block for an Eagle offense that finished with the seventh-best passing offense in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (299.9 yards per game) and was also 24th in total offense (398.5), 98th in rushing offense (98.5) and 35th in scoring offense (29.4). 2007: Named to the Big Sky Conference All-Academic team. Started seven games at left offensive tackle, including six-straight games from Sept. 15 to Oct. 20. He made the first start of his career against UC Davis (9/15/07). He helped Eastern rank sixth in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (first in the Big Sky) with an average of 462.3 yards per game, including 626 in a 44-15 victory over McNeese State (11/24/07) in the FCS Playoffs. 2006: Named to the Big Sky Conference All-Academic team. Lettered as a reserve offensive lineman. 2005: Redshirted. HS: Graduated from Sumner HS in 2005. Named by the Seattle Times as a "Red Chip" selection as one of the top 34 recruits in the state of Washington. The Tacoma News Tribune selected him to its All-Area first team as an offensive lineman. Earned first team All-Puget Sound League North Division honors as an offensive lineman, and second team accolades as a defensive lineman. Nominated for All-State honors and was a National Football Foundation nominee for Scholar-Athlete Lineman of the Year. As a senior, he was team MVP and captain, and was the school's Defensive Player of the Year. He also lettered as a junior, and was the junior varsity MVP his sophomore season. His former EWU teammate Rocky Hanni ('03) also attended Sumner. Personal: Born 3/20/87 in Tacoma, Wash. Biology/pre-medicine major. Thomas hopes to become a doctor, either as an orthopedic surgeon, anesthesiologist, or primary care physician. If the opportunities arise, he may try to pursue a professional football career before he attends medical school. He was born at Tacoma General Hospital in Tacoma, Wash. -- the same hospital former Eastern Academic All-American Dr. Steve Mattson currently works in as an anesthesiologist. Thomas, whose hometown of Sumner is just a short drive away from Tacoma, has enlisted the help of Mattson to serve as a protégé to help him through the medical school process.
Allstate and American Football Coaches Association to Honor Student-Athletes Who Make Off-the-Field Contributions
NORTHBROOK, Ill. -- A hard-working and committed group of college football players will take the field this fall knowing that the impact they have on their teams and communities has nothing to do with touchdowns, tackles or receptions. For a second consecutive year, Allstate Insurance Company has partnered with the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) to announce the list of 106 student-athletes nominated for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®, which honors college football players who make outstanding contributions in the areas of volunteerism and civic involvement.
With their unselfish acts, such as volunteering at orphanages in Kenya, building a reliable water source for villagers in Kabul, tutoring disadvantaged youth, and visiting elderly patients in nursing homes, Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® nominees distinguish themselves among the more than 50,000 student-athletes participating in the sport at all four-year collegiate institutions through off-the-field accomplishments.
"Allstate and the AFCA have created a partnership of common interests and both organizations are proud to honor the off-the-field achievements of college football players and at all levels," said Guy Hill, vice president of sales and service for Allstate. "Allstate shares a genuine commitment to the community with these 106 student-athletes, and we encourage them to continue their benevolent efforts."
The total of 106 nominations submitted by sports information directors across the country on behalf of their teams surpasses all previous single-season nominee totals in the 18-year history of the award. The 2009 class of nominees represents 41 states, including Washington, D.C., and 45 college athletic conferences.
From these nominees, a special voting panel consisting of former Good Works Team® members and prominent college football media members will be responsible for selecting two 11-player Good Works Teams® - one composed of players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, and a combined team representing players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III, and the NAIA.
College Football Hall of Fame member and ESPN broadcast personality Lou Holtz will return as program spokesperson and serve as a member of this year's voting panel.
"Allstate's sponsorship of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® was a welcome addition to one of the oldest, non-competition awards in college football," said Grant Teaff, AFCA executive director. "As a very recognizable sponsor in the sport, Allstate is not only safe-guarding the tradition of college football, but also recognizing its players for their outstanding efforts both on and off the field and helping to shine a very positive light on the sport for all its fans."
The 2009 Allstate/AFCA Good Works Teams® voting panel includes: Allstate vice president, Guy Hill; former Good Works Teams® members Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia, 1997, 1998 teams), Mike Proman (Amherst, 2002 team), Mewelde Moore (Tulane, 2003 team), Brian Brenberg (St. Thomas, 2001 team), Zaid Abdul-Aleem (Duke, 1994 team); media members Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN), Dennis Dodd (CBSSports.com), Tony Barnhart (Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Kelly Whiteside (USA Today), Ivan Maisel (ESPN.com), Lou Holtz (ESPN); current AFCA president and San Jose State University head coach Dick Tomey; and 1996 AFCA president Fisher DeBerry, former head coach at the United States Air Force Academy.
The following players have been nominated for consideration to be included among the 2009 Allstate AFCA Good Works Teams(R):
Football Bowl Subdivision (Div I-A)
Arizona Sate University - Mike Nixon
Auburn University - Walter McFadden
Ball State - Brandon Crawford
Baylor University - Joe Pawelek
Boise State University - Richie Brockel
Brigham Young University - Jan Jorgensen
Central Michigan University - Dan LeFevour
Clemson University - Xavier Dye
Colorado State University - Adrian Martinez
Duke University - Kevin Jones
Indiana University - Jammie Kirlew
Kansas State University - Jeron Mastrud
Louisiana State University - Lyle Hitt
Middle Tennessee State University - Phillip Tanner
Northern Illinois University - David Bryant
Northwestern University - Andrew Brewer
Ohio University - Lee Renfro
Ohio State University - Kurt Coleman
Oregon State University - Taylor Kavanaugh
Pennsylvania State University - Stefen Wisniewski
Rutgers University - Billy Anderson
San Jose State University - Travis Jones
Temple University - Dominique Harris
University of Akron - Alex Allen
University of Alabama - Javier Arenas
University of Arkansas - D.J. Williams
University of Central Florida - Rocky Ross
University of Florida - Tim Tebow
University of Georgia - Jeff Owens
University of Houston - Case Keenum
University of Iowa - Julian Vandervelde
University of Kansas - Darrell Stuckey
University of Kentucky - Alfonso Smith
University of Memphis - Dominik Riley
University of Michigan - Zoltan Mesko
University of Missouri - Kurtis Gregory
University of Nebraska-Lincoln - Roy Helu, Jr.
University of North Carolina - Kyle Jolly
University of Notre Dame - Jimmy Clausen
University of Oklahoma - Sam Bradford
University of Pittsburgh - Adam Gunn
University of South Carolina - Mauricus Brown
University of Texas - Austin - Jordan Shipley
University of California-Los Angeles - Derrick Coleman
University of Texas-El Paso - Cameron Raschke
U.S. Air Force Academy - Nick Charles
U.S. Naval Academy - Ross Pospisil
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University - Tyrod Taylor
Wake Forest University - Benjamin Wooster
West Virginia University - Reed Williams
University of Wisconsin - Chris Maragos
Western Michigan University - Tim Hiller
Combined Divisions (FCS (I-AA) II, III & NAIA)
Ashland University - Nick Bellanco
Beloit College - Joe Goldufsky
Bethel University (Minn.) - Reid Velo
Brevard College - Brandon Rawls
Carroll University (Minn.) - Mike Berg
Central College (Iowa) - Zach Van Arkel
Colby College - Roger Bel
Colorado School of Mines - David Pesek
University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) - Paul Hughes
Dana College - Nate Weathers
Delaware State University - Nick Richmond
Earlham College - Chris Owens
East Texas Baptist University - Michael Cucinotta
Eastern Washington University - Chris Thomas
Florida A&M University - Philip Sylvester
Georgetown University (D.C.) - Jon Cassidy
Hampton University - Michael Swett
Harding University - Brad Parker
Hillsdale College - Eric Schweller
College of the Holy Cross - Dominic Randolph
Jacksonville State University - Joshua Cain
John Carroll University - Joe Micca
Johns Hopkins University - Tim Miller
Langston University - Marquis Holden
University of Montana - Terran Hillesland
North Dakota State University - Richard Bowman
Northeastern University - Zachary Abrams
University of Northern Iowa - Joshua Mahoney
Northern State University - Brian Jark
Northwest Missouri State University - Sean Paddock
Ottawa University - Andrew Otto
University of Richmond - Kevin Grayson
Sacred Heart University - Mark Uyeno
Samford University - Ty Levie
Southeastern Louisiana University - Darnell Jones
Southwest Baptist University - Steve Gachette
Southwest Minnesota State University - Paul Muecke
St. Cloud State University - Doug Asquith
Saint Francis University (Pa.) - Russel Fisher
University of St. Thomas (Minn.)- Jeffrey Hilliard
Tarleton State University - Jacob Rowe
Texas A&M University-Commerce - Taylor Fore
Texas A&M University-Kingsville - Markeith Wesley
Tusculum College - Jarrell NeSmith
Valparaiso University - Adam Rundh
Villanova University - Benjamin Ijalana
Washington University-St. Louis - Tim Taylor
University of West Alabama - Dameon Baylor
West Texas A&M - James Chandler
Western New England College - David Doiron
Wilmington College - Billy Blackburn
University of Wisconsin-Platteville - George Katze
Wittenberg University - Lance Phillps
Youngstown State University - Aaron Pitts
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®" slogan, Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help individuals in approximately 17 million households protect what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Customers can access Allstate products and services such as auto insurance and homeowners insurance through approximately 14,700 exclusive Allstate agencies and financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, or in select states at allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate®. Encompass® and Deerbrook((R) )Insurance brand property and casualty products are sold exclusively through independent agents. The Allstate Financial Group provides life insurance, supplemental accident and health insurance, annuity, banking and retirement products designed for individual, institutional and worksite customers that are distributed through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, financial institutions and broker-dealers. Customers can also access information about Allstate Financial Group products and services at myallstatefinancial.com.
About the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®
In order to meet the criteria set forth by Allstate and AFCA, each player must be actively involved and committed to working with a charitable organization, service group or community service while maintaining good academic standing.
The Allstate AFCA Good Works Teams® were established in 1992 by the College Football Association, recognizing the extra efforts made by college football players and student support staff off the field. AFCA became the governing body of the award in 1997 and continues to honor college football players who go the extra mile for those in need. Allstate partnered to present the award starting with the 2008 season.
Since 1992, the Southeastern Conference leads all conferences with 50 selections to the Good Works Teams®, followed by the Big 12 with 35 selections and the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with 23 selections. In 2008, St. Thomas, Minn. running back Mikkel Haugen became the 11th Tommie to be selected to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, tying them with Georgia and Nebraska for the most selections of all time. Super Bowl XLII and XLI champion quarterbacks Eli and Peyton Manning were members of the 2002 and 1997 Good Works Teams®, respectively.
The American Football Coaches Association was founded in 1922 and currently has more than 10,000 members around the world ranging from the high school level to the professional ranks. According to its constitution, AFCA was formed, in part, to "maintain the highest possible standards in football and in the coaching profession" and to "provide a forum for the discussion and study of all matters pertaining to football."