Rose Bowl Trip for Walton Grad
Senior linebacker Chase Thomas and the Stanford Cardinal won the Pac 12 title Friday night.
Walton High School graduate Chase Thomas will play his final college football game in the Rose Bowl.
Thomas, a senior linebacker and All-American candidate, helped Stanford win the Pac 12 championship Friday in a 27-24 win over UCLA.
In the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day, Stanford will play the winner of tonight's Big Ten championship game between Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Stanford, now 11-2, has been turning heads all season after losing quarterback Andrew Luck, who was the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts. The Cardinal shocked then-No. 3 Oregon last month to reach the Pac 12 title game, and Thomas has been a key member of one of the top-ranked defenses in the country.
One of their two losses came in overtime at Notre Dame, which is unbeaten, ranked No. 1 and will be playing for the BCS national title.
Earlier this week, Thomas told the San Jose Mercury-News that Stanford's season shouldn't have come as a surprise: "People don't get it. We're not going away."
That's the attitude that propelled him at Walton, where he starred in football and lacrosse.
Thomas has been named a finalist for the Lott IMPACT trophy, which goes to a defensive college football player judged for his athletic success as well as his character off the field.
Thomas is in very good company. The other nominees include Georgia's Jarvis Jones and Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, a Heisman Trophy candidate.
Thomas has 58 total tackles (36 solo), and is third on the team with 12 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks. He has forced a fumble and recovered two more fumbles, one for a defensive touchdown at Notre Dame, and also had an interception against Arizona.