Saturday, July 21, 2012

Former Sooner Clendon Thomas Inducted Into Hall of Fame

NORMAN, Okla. -- Former Oklahoma running back Clendon Thomas was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame along with 14 other players at the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Saturday in South Bend, Ind.

Thomas, a consensus All-American for the Sooners in 1957, was Oklahoma’s 24th inductee to the College Football Hall of Fame and the first since Tom Brahaney in 2007. OU has placed 19 players and five former coaches in the Hall. No Big 12 school has more.

Thomas played a pivotal role in the Sooners back-to-back national title wins in 1955 and 1956 under College Football Hall of Fame coach Bud Wilkinson.

Thomas participated on several of the winningest teams in college football history, enjoying a 31-1 record during his stay in Norman. He was a major cog in Oklahoma’s record 47-game winning streak, and also helped the Sooners win three consecutive, undefeated Big 7 Conference championships and two national championships.

Thomas totaled 2,156 rushing yards in his three seasons, never averaging less than 6.3 yards per attempt. The two-time All-Big 7 performer led the nation in scoring in 1956 and paced the Sooners’ scoring as a junior and a senior. Thomas finished ninth in 1957 Heisman Trophy voting.

Thomas was a second round selection as a defensive back in the 1958 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He played 11 seasons with the Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers, appearing in 137 games with 27 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries. Thomas appeared in the 1963 Pro Bowl and was named a Second Team All-Pro three times.

Thomas is the founding president of Putnam City Schools Foundation and served on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ national board of directors. He has also served on the selection committee for Armed Services Academies and as an executive board member of the Jim Thorpe Association.

Thomas, who was enlisted in the Army Reserves for six years, founded and operated Chemical Products Corp. for 25 years. Still involved in business, he and his wife Soni reside in Oklahoma City. They have two children.
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