ELKHART – Elkhart football standout Ky Thomas officially signed his national letter of intent Wednesday to play football at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.
Thomas became the first Elkhart player since Jeffery Wilson Jr. to sign to a Division I program. Wilson was named an AP Class 2A first-team all-state as a senior after rushing for 2,749 yards and 36 touchdowns before he chose to play college football for North Texas. He now holds a roster spot with the San Fransico 49ers where he has five touchdowns this season.
Thomas was selected as a first-team all-district tight end and offensive lineman this past season for the Elks and helped them jump out to their best start in 15 years.
The 6'4 prospect racked up nearly 400 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 19 receptions.
“I'm blessed to be in this position,” Thomas said. “It's amazing to get to further my academic and athletic career at SFA.”
Thomas was won over by the supportive atmosphere and coaching staff the Lumberjacks football program presents.
He'll join head coach Colby Carthel, who guided the Lumberjacks to a 3-6 conference record last season.
Carthel spent the previous six seasons guiding the Lions, where he captured the 2017 NCAA Division II Football National Championship in his fifth year at the helm.
Owning an eye-popping .766 winning percentage as a head coach, Carthel posted a 59-18 overall record at A&M-Commerce with an impressive 36-8 (.818) conference record.
In addition to three Lone Star Conference championships, Carthel led the Lions to six consecutive postseason appearances and four-straight NCAA playoff appearances.
Carthel's extensive resume gave Thomas the confidence to commit the next four years to be a Lumberjack and felt this is the best fit for him possibly taking his playing career past the collegiate level.
Under Carthel’s tutelage as a head coach, his players have captured four national player of the year awards, two regional player of the year awards and nine conference player of the year awards.
While at A&M-Commerce, Carthel witnessed his student-athletes garner 56 All-American honors, including 21 All-American First Team selections, not to mention 20 all-region accolades and 141 all-conference plaudits.
“For the younger players to see this first hand they understand that this is an opportunity they can make happen,” head coach Jason Fiacco said. “I hope this becomes a goal for the rest of the guys to make it to the next level.”
The Lumberjacks currently has plans to use Thomas' 6'4, 265-pound frame on their defensive line.
“I hope I inspired some of our younger players,” Thomas said about his signing. “I'm just a small-town kid like everyone else here. You can become a part of something bigger than this.”