Daniel Thomas signs with UVa-Wise football

Published 3:51 pm Friday, February 9, 2024

Bell County High School senior Daniel Thomas, the 2023 Kentucky Mr. Football, signed on Wednesday afternoon to continue his football career at the University of Virginia at Wise.

“This is an absolute blessing. Playing in college is something not many people get to experience,” he said. “I just recognize that this is a blessing and I plan to make the most that I can out of it.”

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Thomas ran for a state-record 3,817 yards and 55 touchdowns — both tops in the nation — last season as the Bobcats went 13-2 and reached the Class 3A state championship game.

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He said he chose to sign his National Letter of Intent with UVa-Wise because they offered him a full ride. “I was on a visit to Presbyterian when the coach sent me a letter of documentation that said no loans, no out of pocket money and all that. He said, ‘I told you I wanted you pretty bad.’ So that’s exactly how it happened,” Thomas said. “It’s a full tuition scholarship. Again it’s a blessing to have school paid for.”

Bell County Principal Jeff Brock said football was in Daniel’s blood. “His father and his uncle were on the ‘91 state championship team. His mom was a cheerleader at that time. His brother (Tyson) was also on the 2019 state runner-up team and his sister was a cheerleader before that,” Brock said to an assembly of students gathered in the BCHS auditorium. “Daniel really personifies what we want in our students, not just our athletes. When you talk about how hard somebody works and you talk about being successful, there’s a great deal of correlation between those two things. You see that with Daniel. If you want a role model, if you want somebody to look up to, Daniel is a really good choice.”

Bobcat football coach Dudley Hilton said Thomas has a very good opportunity in front of him with UVa-Wise bringing in a brand new coaching staff.

“I don’t have any doubt in my mind that Daniel will go up there and do what he’s signed up to do every day and that’s play college football,” Hilton said. “I’ve watched this young man work for the last five years. He gave it his all every day, I don’t know if he ever missed a day of practice. I know he did the high school business well — You don’t become Mr. Football in the state of Kentucky unless you do it well. “He’s made everybody here proud of what he’s accomplished. He’s represented our team well, he’s represented our high school well, the administration, he’s represented all of Bell County very, very well.”

Thomas said his current plans are to major in Psychology and become a behavioral analyst.