Rodney Thomas shared the same backfield with Greg Hill and Leeland McElroy during his time in Aggieland. His career was the model of consistency, his freshman season was as expected only receiving 60 carries due to feature back Greg Hill, backup Keith McAfee, fullback Doug Carter and quarterback Bucky Richardson in his final season.
In the 1992 season, the Aggies ran out to a 12-0 record thanks in large part to the running back duo of Greg Hill and Rodney Thomas. Thomas finished the season 94 yards short of 1,000. He had a solid 5.2 yards per carry and rushed for 13 touchdowns. The Aggies were staring at an outside chance for the national championship but could not muster any offense against Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl.
The 1993 team was the one everyone looked at to bring Texas A&M another national championship. Preseason ranked No. 4, the dynamic duo was back at running back alongside freshman Leeland McElroy. Again Thomas had a solid season, this time four yards short of the 1,000 mark. Once again his yards per carry average was 5.2 and he also matched his ’92 output with 13 rushing touchdowns. So many will ask what happened in ’93? That being my freshman year as an equipment manager, I’m still wondering.
The 1994 team was penalized by the NCAA so there would be no bowl game and no television, but ultimately what everyone wanted was an undefeated season. Thomas returned for his senior year and many wonder if the team was really motivated to play. How do you get up for every game knowing the pot at the end of the rainbow is really empty? Thomas finished the season with 868 yards and 12 touchdowns. The goal for the team was partially reached, undefeated yes but untied no. The Aggies had to rally from 14 points down to SMU to salvage a 21-21 tie.
“Even great teams have to lose sometime,” said Rodney Thomas of the Aggies, who ran for three touchdowns. “You remember when it happens and it gets you refocused on what it takes to win. We got that feeling back of what it’s like to lose.”
He would be drafted in the third round of the 1995 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers after finishing his career at the time second in career touchdowns. He currently ranks fifth in all time rushing.
We would all lose Thomas way to early after passing away from a heart attack at the age of 41.