UT's Earl Thomas headed to NFL

January, 9, 2010
1/09/10
7:22
AM CT
Redshirt sophomore safety Earl Thomas, a consensus first-team All-American, has decided to enter the NFL Draft.

"I want to thank Coach Brown, Coach Muschamp, Coach Akina and everyone at Texas," Thomas said in a release sent out by the school on Friday. "I had a great time for three years at UT. Everyone there helped me work towards my dream of playing in the NFL and giving me a chance to support my family. It was a tough decision because we're like
brothers here, especially in the DB room, and I'm really going to miss playing with all of the guys. I received some individual honors this year, but I have to give credit to the rest of the defense because I couldn't have
done any of it without them."

Thomas, a Thorp Award finalist, started all 27 games in his career at UT and had 149 tackles (eight for loss), 10 interceptions, five forced fumbles and a blocked punt. He had 77 tackles in 2009 and broke the Texas school record with eight interceptions (the previous mark was seven, tied for times since Noble Doss did it in 1940). Thomas also had two interception returns for touchdowns this past season, also a school record.

"We appreciate everything Earl has done for Texas and want to wish him all of the best," said Brown. "He has been a great player for us and more importantly a tremendous person, student and representative of our program. We thank him, support him and look forward to following his career in the NFL."

I may not be a draft expert, but it's obviously Thomas can play. He has good instincts, is strong positionally and has great closing speed. He also knows where the football is and how to grab it and make big plays once he has it. He'll make a good NFL player, if you ask me.

Are you surprised he didn't stay one more year? Is this the right move for him?

Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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