May 15, 2012 8:31 PM by Jordan Mason
U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. - Scott Thomas, a 1986 graduate of the Air Force Academy and former All-American safety, has been elected into the College Football Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2012. Thomas is the fourth former Falcon to be elected to the HOF, players Brock Strom (1985) and Chad Hennings (2006) and former coach Fisher DeBerry (2011).
Thomas earned consensus All-American honors in 1985 as a senior while leading Air Force to a school-best 12-1 record, a No. 5 national ranking and victory over Texas in the Bluebonnet Bowl. He led the team in interceptions with six that season and became just the seventh player in NCAA history at the time to have a kickoff, punt and interception return for a touchdown in the same season.
Affectionately known as Spike, Thomas is one of just five consensus All-Americans in Air Force history, joining Strom (1958), Ernie Jennings (1970), Hennings (1987) and Carlton McDonald (1992). He ranks sixth in school history with 10 career interceptions. A special teams standout, Thomas ranks among Air Force's all-time leaders in kickoff return yardage (ninth, 657 yards), kickoff return average (seventh, 25.2 average), punt returns (third, 52 returns), punt return yards (second, 613 yards) and punt return average (eighth, 11.7). He is the only player in school history in the top 10 in each category.
Thomas is currently a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force reserves stationed at Sheppard AFB, Texas, where is the deputy operations group commander for the 80 Fighter Training Group, Air Force reserve liaison, as well as a commercial pilot. He has more than 4,300 flying hours in the F-16C and the T38. His active duty career spanned from 1986-2000 and included service as an instructor pilot in the F-16 and T-38. His career included flying missions during Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM where he was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Thomas earned national recognition during the Gulf War in 1991 when his F-16 fighter jet malfunctioned at 32,000 feet over enemy territory. He evaded enemy forces for two hours until being rescued by a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter. Altogether, he served over seven months in combat.
Thomas and his wife, Kelly, have a daughter, Emily, and son, Peter, and live in Wichita Falls, Texas. Thomas is a native of San Antonio, Texas, and attended Jay High School where he was an all-city running back. He was elected into the Air Force Academy Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.