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Thurman Thomas

Growing Up

Thurman Thomas was born on May 16, 1966, in Houston, Texas, the only child of parents who would end up divorcing when he was four. His mother, Terlisha,

Thurman Thomas

who would remarry eight years later, and claimed that Thomas was spoiled by relatives who constantly gave him what he wanted.

As a boy, Thomas was often the smallest one to participate in sports, and developed early on an attitude that compensated- or overcompensated-for what he lacked in size. He would later tell the Pioneer Press that people who made remarks about his stature getting in the way of his success "always motivated me toward doing something that I know I can do when other people say I can't."

Thomas was All-State running back and defensive back at Willowridge High in Missouri City, Texas (a suburb of Houston), and he played with a chip on his shoulder. He led his school to two state championship games and one state title. "I was raised in the ghetto and I have a tough attitude," Thomas told the Washington Post. "I'm not going to let anyone take advantage of me and I'm not going to take advantage of anybody else. I let people know how I feel. That's just the way I am."

By the end of high school, Thomas had rushed for just under 4,000 yards and forty-eight touchdowns. With his small stature, many college recruiters didn't look at him closely. Many told him that if he came to play for their teams, he could only play defensive back. But Thomas, determined to do what he was told he couldn't, sought out a school where he could carry the ball. Oklahoma State coach Jimmy Johnson—who would later go on to coach the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins—promised Thomas that he could run if he came to play for Oklahoma State. Thomas did, and went on to become one of the nation's premier runners.

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Famous Sports StarsFootballThurman Thomas Biography - Growing Up, Size Doesn't Matter, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Created A Loud Legacy - CONTACT INFORMATION