Micah Thomas was a baseball player when he moved from Virginia to Texas and wasn’t sure he wanted to play football when he began high school.
“My dad was like, ‘It’s Texas, you need to try it. The coaches are going to make you try it.’” the Vista Ridge alumnus said. “It ended up working out.”
Thomas has been a three-year starter at linebacker for the Naval Academy. He finished second on the team in tackles as a sophomore and led the team last season as a junior. He’s the top tackler this season with 72 and was named Second Team All-Conference for the second straight year.
He took his first snap as a freshman at Vista Ridge and played mostly defensive end. He moved to linebacker before his senior year and earned first-team All-State honors after finishing with 147 tackles.
“When Micah first came to us, I’m not sure what he thought about high school football,” Vista Ridge head coach Rodney Vincent said. “Over time he just fell in love with it and became a great student of the game.”
He had a handful of college offers coming out of high school including Air Force, Texas-San Antonio and UTEP, but ultimately signed to play at Arkansas State before decommiting and picking Navy.
Thomas has never been driven by football. He wanted to use football as a way to help get a better education. It’s an attitude instilled in him by his father, David, who told him to look at the next 40 years of his life rather than just the next four.
“There are a lot of days where I wish I had a normal college experience and it was easier,” Thomas said. “You have to go through some adversity because it’s not easy to go here. Easy doesn’t teach me anything and easy won’t help me later in life.”
Thomas said one of the biggest things he’s learned in college is the importance of investing in other people. He’s never going to be closer to anyone than his football teammates because of what they’ve been through, but they wouldn’t have accomplished what they have without each other.
“With the leadership stuff he’s developed in high school football and at the Naval Academy, the sky is the limit,” Vincent said. “He can do whatever he wants to do if he puts his mind to it. We’re really proud to have been around Micah here and that he had a chance to be around our program.”
Thomas said another thing he’s learned is time management and dealing with a hectic schedule of classes, workouts and practices.
Navy also has had the added distraction of being featured on the most recent season of Showtime Sports’ miniseries, "A Season with Navy Football," which has followed the team throughout the year.
Thomas was the main storyline on the latest episode, following the Midshipmen and their trip to Houston. The senior had seven tackles in a 24-14 loss to the Cougars.
“I don’t like cameras,” he said. “I was pretty good at avoiding them all season. Once I was featured, it was over. Before that, I just tried to do my best to stay out of the way and limit my exposure.”
Obviously, every student at the Naval Academy is commissioned for a tour of duty. Thomas was selected to be part of the Marine ground unit, which includes supply, infantry and intelligence soldiers.
But he has some interest from the NFL, too. According to nfldraftscout.com, he ranked 44th of 146 inside linebackers eligible for the draft.
The decision between getting drafted or serving his country isn’t a decision Thomas is quite ready to make.
“I guess the NFL is a possibility,” he said. “I haven’t given that a lot of thought. I don’t really care, to be quite honest. For me, football was for an education and it wasn’t for much more than that. I never really expected to play in the NFL.”