No matter the outcome, Octavius Thomas merely wanted his college football career to be described as one played “without regrets.”
It is fair to say the Myrtle Beach product did just that at Shepherd College (W.Va.), helping the Rams to their third Mountain East Conference title in four years and an appearance in the 2015 Division II football championship game. This past season, Shepherd finished 13-1.
Such profound team success has also allowed Thomas to earn individual honors. The former Seahawk was named to the 2016 Conference Commissioners Association (CCA) Division II All-Super Region I team.
Thomas led the team with 85 tackles – 60 of which were solo – and 10.5 tackles for a loss and five sacks. He also had two forced fumbles and an interception.
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According to the Myrtle Beach alum, Shepherd proved to be the perfect situation for him.
“My last recruiting visit, I fell in love with the campus and the small town it was in,” he said. “I’m pretty much a homebody, so the fact there was nothing much to do it proved to be the perfect situation for me. It worked out perfectly.”
For his career, Thomas racked up 285 tackles and 15 sacks. Much of those numbers came as a result of his preparation, something Myrtle Beach football coach Mickey Wilson said has been his strongest attribute since he was in high school.
“As a young guy in high school, he would spend as much time in the film room as coaches,” the Seahawks’ head man said. “He just loves football, and showed it by going above and beyond when it came to preparation. His instincts already made him great, but going the extra mile certainly helped as well.
“I just wish he was 6-foot-2, instead of 5-foot-7. If he’d have been taller he would have been a top prospect, but his height was a tough pill for coaches to swallow.”
Oddly, the local product is not the type to set goals, instead someone who would rather just let the chips fall as they may. Life after college football is following much of the same story line for Thomas, who is evaluating multiple pursuits before eventually settling on one.
“I’m all over the place right now,” he said. “I want to open a restaurant with my brother, go into coaching, or maybe there could be more football down the line. I have no idea right now, but I’ll figure something out soon.”
Count Wilson among those hoping his former standout goes into coaching, citing his passion for football and life as a key trait for helping mold the lives of young men.
“He’s a great young man, and we’re proud of him here at Myrtle Beach … extremely proud,” the Myrtle Beach coach said. “He’s a great kid with a great personality, and I personally hope he goes into coaching. I told him that when he left Myrtle Beach.
“Better yet, he still comes around and always makes time for our kids. He came home for breaks from Shepherd, came to the weight room, practices and workouts and would come to our games when he could. Thomas always wanted to be around, and we’ll always welcome him.”