Oct. 2, 2009
Thomas Stepp, Texas Media Relations
From early on, as many brothers do, Earl and Seth Thomas have shared a tight bond.
Born almost an even year apart with Earl being older, their mother, Debbie, recalls their father, also named Earl, even beginning to exercise their legs together as infants.
As the two moved to ages 5 and 6, football was already beginning to be a passion for both as their father built them an area in the garage to put on pads and be able to “butt heads,” as Debbie Thomas humorously described it.
This past Monday, however, their bond and similarity was taken to a new level as they were both named defensive player of the week for their respective conferences and both recorded two interceptions – Earl for Texas of the Big 12, and Seth for McNeese State of the Southland Conference.
The brothers, who talk on the phone about every other day as it is, had extra incentive for a longer chat when they spoke after hearing each other’s news.
“We talked for about two hours,” Earl said. “It’s his first year starting. I’m really proud of him. He’s trying to send the film through the mail, so I’m going to get to see it too.”
“He was more excited about me making the two interceptions than he was about making his own interceptions," Seth said of the conversation.
That should come as no surprise based on the relationship of the brothers, who their mother calls the best of friends.
“They have brotherly love between them,” Debbie Thomas said. “They are their brother’s keeper. They are always excited for each other’s accomplishments. They give each other pointers when they make mistakes to help each other do better.”
Having played in the same defensive backfield at West Orange Stark High School, they have since swapped positions from high school to college with Earl starting as cornerback in high school and moving to safety at Texas, while Seth played safety in high school and is now a corner at McNeese State.
Seth gives credit to his brother for having “learned most of my stuff from him,” but Earl describes it going both ways.
“We always tell each other things we see or things we’ve talked about in practice,” Earl said.
It was an emotional experience for their family, especially at a time when Earl’s grandfather, Earl, Sr., has been ill. While their parents were attending Seth’s game against Tulane, other family members were at Earl’s against UTEP and the news of the dual two-interception games quickly spread.
“My mom was crying on the phone,” Earl said. “My family is going through a lot with my grandpa. It’s just good to help uplift the whole family.”
As in sync as the Thomas family is and with the bond they share, it seems more than coincidental timing that Earl and Seth would have such a unique accomplishment.
“I am really proud of my sons,” Debbie Thomas said. “Earl and Seth are my miracle sons. God blessed my husband and I with them, so we are really happy, proud parents. We just keep reminding our sons to stay focused, keep acknowledging God, make good intelligent choices, study hard and pursue their dreams.”
They are helping each other to do just that.