Illinois’ Miami Thomas: the most unlucky man in College Football


It’s hard to find anyone else in college football who’s spent a greater percentage of his career on injured reserve than Illinois defensive back Marcus Laron (better known by his nickname Miami, the city he grew up in) Thomas.

In the 2009 preseason, Thomas was a projected starter, but he suffered a season-ending injury; a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. In 2008, he got only 62 plays in on the season before tearing the ACL in his right knee, forcing him to miss pretty much the entire year. In 2007, he started one game (vs. Northwestern) as a freshman during IllinoisRose Bowl “Champaign Campaign.”

His glory moment came that year during the Illini’s historical upset at #1 Ohio State, the first time Illinois had beaten a #1 team since 1950. When starting cornerback Vontae Davis (now with the NFL‘s Miami Dolphins) went down with an injury, Thomas stepped in and grabbed his first career interception, and tipped another ball to teammate Antonio Steele for another interception.

This fall he’s obviously hoping for more ’07 type vibes, and less ’08 and ’09 style karma. From speaking with him, it’s noticeable that the old cliche “what doesn’t kill you only makes your stronger” rings true.

By Paul M. Banks

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