MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Former Lee High School General Daniel Thomas is headed to the NFL.
The former Auburn Tiger defensive back was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 157th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Many emotions filled the room when Thomas got the call from Head Coach Doug Marrone: tears, cheers and praise to the most high as Thomas’ future on the football field was secured.
“All of the praise goes to God. It’s like a surreal moment, and a dream come true, and I know it had to be God because it’s crazy. But I thank God for it,” said Thomas.
A three-start recruit out of high school, Thomas went on to start at safety for the Tigers for two years, and as a senior this past year, he was second on the team with 74 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss.
Thomas is intent on sharing his story through his play.
“I’m going to show people how God can take a person that basically had nothing – came from nothing, everybody looked down on, I wasn’t supposed to be where I’m at today – and I feel like He’s going to do something (in the draft) that’s going to shock the whole world,” Thomas said.
Thomas finished his career with five interceptions, 13 pass deflections and a trio of both forced fumbles and fumble recoveries. He now turns his attention to Jacksonville.
"They’re going to get a hard worker,” he said. “A very hard-hitting safety. A guy that's always around the ball, very instinctive, very smart. I'm just gonna do what it takes. Whatever the team needs, I'm gonna do it. They're gonna get a team player."
Although he’ll be just a few extra hours and short drive across the Florida-Alabama border, he says he’s thankful to be so close.
"That means when I get a chance, I'll be able to come home for church on Sunday," he said with a laugh.
In the end, Thomas says he’s grateful for the people in his corner, and the ones who couldn’t be here, turning his focus toward making them proud at the next level.
“Auburn, man, it’s crazy, just receiving that last minute scholarship four years ago, and I hope my story saves people," he said. "I hope it changes people and gives people hope and their dreams can come true no matter what. I give all my praise to God.”
With the ones who raised him close by, Thomas is ready to take the next step in the rest of his life.
“I’m thankful my parents will be able to come to the games, and it won’t be too far," he said. "I just want them to have the world. They worked hard all their life, and I just want to let them know that the best is yet to come.”