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Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Entering the Hall: Scott Thomas

By Mark Schlabach

Scott Thomas was a star safety at the Air Force Academy, helping lead the Falcons to one of their best seasons in 1985.

Six years later, Thomas was trying to stay alive as a pilot during Desert Storm, after his F-16 jet developed engine problems over Iraq. Thomas safely ejected and was rescued by Army special forces as they took on enemy fire.

A star safety and kick returner for the Falcons, Thomas was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot on Tuesday.

In 1985, Thomas helped guide the Falcons to a 12-1 record and No. 5 ranking in the final coaches' poll. Thomas intercepted six passes, returning one for a touchdown, and also returned a punt and kickoff for scores in 1985. He became the first player in NCAA history to return an interception, punt return and kickoff return for touchdowns in the same season and also had 89 tackles.

Thomas, a native of San Antonio, Texas, capped off his football career by helping the Falcons defeat Texas 24-16 in the Bluebonnet Bowl. He wanted to play football for the Longhorns coming out of John Jay High School. When the Longhorns failed to offer him a scholarship, he accepted an appointment to the Air Force Academy.

Thomas was named All-America in 1985 and also was named MVP of the 1984 Independence Bowl, helping lead Air Force to a 23-7 victory over Virginia Tech. He helped guide the Falcons to a 38-12 record from 1982-85, the best four-year mark in the program's history.

Thomas retired from the Air Force in 2000.