Sign unveiled in honor of Mr. Football Daniel Thomas

Published 10:36 am Thursday, May 23, 2024

2023 Kentucky Mr. Football Daniel Thomas was honored on Wednesday afternoon with the unveiling of a Department of Transportation road sign recognizing that honor on U.S. 25E near the entrance to Bell County High School.

State Rep. Adam Bowling, Judge-Executive Albey Brock and Sheriff Mitch Williams were joined by several members of Thomas’ family and the Bobcat coaching staff for the sign unveiling.

“I’m just blessed to be put in this situation. A lot of kids these days don’t get something like this so I’m honored to be able to do it,” Thomas said. “ I couldn’t do it without all of the support around me. You see everybody here, I couldn’t do it without them. Thank you all.”

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Thomas finished the 2023 high school football season with a state record and nation leading  3,817 rushing yards and 54 rushing touchdowns. He led Bell County to a Class 3A state runner-up finish at Kroger Field.

“Everybody in the state knows who Daniel Thomas is now, I guarantee you they do,” Bobcat coach Dudley Hilton said. “I wish him the best of luck, he’s going to the University of Virginia at Wise and I know he’ll represent Bell County well up there also. I just thank Adam Bowling and Judge Brock and everybody that erected this sign. It’s a great day for Bell County..”

Bowling commended Thomas and the Bobcats on a special season.

“I talked to Coach Hilton earlier and he told me this was his 49th season. Anybody who knows anything about his career knows he’s a legend of Kentucky high school football, one of the best to ever do it,” Bowling said. “I asked him if he had ever had a Mr. Football before and he said: ‘No, I never have.’ To make something Dudley Hilton’s first time in high school football, that’s something special right there. Obviously, we’re very proud of Daniel and his coaching staff, his teammates, his family. They’re top-notch people and I’m very happy to be here to unveil this (sign). It’s quite an honor for Daniel and his family.”

Brock said he would “Amen what Adam said.”

“I know there’s a guy in heaven, this boy’s great grandfather who would be really, really proud today,” the Judge-Executive said. “The way this young man conducts himself, I’m proud to be a part of this, I’m proud to have watched him play.”

Thomas added that when people see the sign he wants them to think of his hard work and for future players to be inspired to give that same effort.

“I want them to remember how hard of a worker I was. I wasn’t just a talented kid, I had to get in there and work. I want that to be the mentality that keeps on going throughout the years,” he said.

He also said the sign shows that his being named Mr. Football meant a lot to the community and southeastern Kentucky.

“Things like this don’t get won very often around here. We had Reed Shepherd win Mr. Basketball last year, but other than that we don’t get a lot of recognition (in southeastern Kentucky.),” Thomas said. “ I think it’s really a blessing to the community and I hope the message has been sent that people from a small community can do things like this.”

Thomas said his plans at UVa-Wise are to “keep improving my game and getting better every day and see where it takes me.”