Today’s post celebrates the “Happy Birthday” of a record-setting Wolverine named Anthony Thomas. Yes, Anthony “A-Train” Thomas was born on this day at Winnfield, Louisiana. Anthony grew up to be a outstanding athlete in multiple sports at Winnfield High School. He set rushing records and touchdowns in high school which made him a target for the best college became the primary target for many of the top football coaches in America. Coach Lloyd Carr must have thought he won the “lottery” when he signed Thomas to come to Michigan.
Anthony Thomas came to Michigan with high expectations in 1997. Although he didn’t earn any starts as a freshman, he did earn his first varsity letter on Michigan’s National Championship team. Thomas earned 137 carries and rushed for 549 net yards. He also scored 5 touchdowns. Anthony’s solid play also caused him to be named as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. I’d say that Anthony Thomas had a great start to his Michigan Football career.
Thomas returned in 1998 and did something that he would do for three straight seasons. Anthony led Michigan in rushing with 893 yards. He started three games and also scored 15 touchdowns. Thomas played at a high level all season and he helped Michigan earn a share of another Big Ten Championship. According to the 2000 Michigan Football Media Guide, Anthony was named the Citrus Bowl MVP and he earned recognition as the Sporting News Breakout Player of the 1998 season. He earned his second varsity letter and started getting ready for a better season in 1999.
Anthony returned for his third season in 1999 and he picked up where he left off in 1998. Actually, he played better, a lot better! Thomas broke the 1,000-yard mark for the first time and finished the season with a team-leading 1,297 rushing yards. He continued to run for the tough yards inside the “red zone” and ended the season with 17 rushing touchdowns. His efforts helped Michigan post an excellent record of 10 wins and 2 losses. The Wolverines did slip to a tie for second place in the Big Ten Conference. Yes, Anthony Thomas earned his third varsity letter. He also earned All-Big Ten second team honors. Finally, he was named the winner of the Frederick Matthaei Award for leadership on and off the football field in 1999.
The talented, and hard-working, Anthony Thomas returned for his final season in 2000. He added the title of “Captain” to his resume. As they say, he saved his best for last. Thomas rushed for 1,733 yards – the second highest total in the history of Michigan Football. He played extremely well and led by example on the playing field. Anthony helped Michigan win a share of their third Big Ten Championship in four years. The Wolverines ended the season with a final record of 9 wins and 3 losses and posted a Big Ten record of 6-2. Thomas finished his final season as the Bo Schembechler Most Valuable Player and a first team All-Big Ten player. Yes, he definitely ended his Michigan career on a high note.
Anthony “A-Train” Thomas left Michigan with 15 records (rushing and scoring) and a number of important Michigan Football “firsts.” Here they are:
So, Anthony Thomas left Michigan with 26 starts, 4 varsity letters, 3 Big Ten Championship rings and plenty of awards and recognition from Michigan and the Big Ten. Oops, I forgot to mention that he earned Michigan’s Athletic Achievement Award in 2001 for his outstanding work in the classroom and on the field. Yes, he had an outstanding career and left Ann Arbor with his head held very high! Anthony went on to a very successful NFL career. In 2016, he was inducted into the Louisiana High School Hall of Fame. Today is certainly a great day to appreciate his contributions to the great history that is – Michigan Football. Happy Birthday Anthony and Go Blue!
If you want to see Anthony Thomas at his best check out the Michigan Historian’s tribute video below:
What is the longest winning streak in the Michigan vs Rutgers football series so far?
After losing their first ever contest against Rutgers in 2014, Michigan is now on a three-game win streak that started in 2015 and continued through the 2017 season. The Wolverines have rolled up some big scores against the Scarlet Knights lately. Saturday’s game should be no exception as the Wolverines are favored to win by 36 to 39 points. Yikes!
What is the biggest margin of victory that Michigan has ever recorded against Rutgers?