Saturday marks South Carolina State’s next-to-last game of the season, which means there are two games left in Joe Thomas Sr.’s college football career.
It’s a crossroads faced by hundreds of college seniors as the football schedule turns to November. What makes Thomas unique is that he’s 55 years old and hopes to become the oldest player ever to play Division I football.
Even if it’s just for one play.
Sports Illustrated tells a compelling tale of a man who was born to a sharecropper, was nearly deaf until age 17, led Blackville High to the state semifinals in 1980, spent some time as a professional wrestler and tried to play college football with his son but injuries messed up the timing.
Joe Thomas Jr., by the way, is now a backup linebacker with the Green Bay Packers.
As a scout-team player, Thomas had to wait two months to get an NCAA waiver to dress for home games. He didn’t get into last week’s game against Norfolk State, a 13-10 loss. This week brings Savannah State to Orangeburg.
Bulldogs coach Buddy Pough, the story says, has indicated he’ll get Thomas on the field if the score gets lopsided. But both Savannah State and Bethune-Cookman, next week’s foe, have similar records to S.C. State. All Thomas can do is hope.