Saturday, November 19, 2016
ORANGEBURG, South Carolina -- The story of Joe Thomas Sr. is one of resilience and overcoming the odds. Thomas, who is more than 30 years older than any of his teammates, is getting a second chance to play a young man’s game — a chance the sharecropper’s son missed out on in his youth.
Thomas was raised in Blackville, South Carolina, a small town about 40 minutes from Orangeburg, where South Carolina State’s campus is located. Throughout his childhood, Thomas was partially deaf, but a doctor helped him clear his ears when he was 17. During his junior and senior seasons at Blackville High School, he was a star defensive lineman and a promising running back. But he did not get the opportunity to play college football.
Officially, there’s no telling if he’s the oldest Division I football player ever, but we’re pretty confident in saying he is.
He has practiced with the team for four years, and on senior day he got his shot.