Wisconsin Football: Joe Thomas selected to College Football Hall of Fame

Joe Thomas, one of Wisconsin Football’s all-time greats, has been selected to the College Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2019.

One of the greatest players to ever suit up at Wisconsin has officially reached the pinnacle of career achievement in college football.

On Monday, the National Football Foundation unveiled the College Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2019, and former Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas was among the thirteen chosen candidates.

Thomas will be enshrined beside fellow Badger legends such as Barry Alvarez, Alan Ameche, Ron Dayne, Tim Krumrie, Pat Richter, and Dave Schreiner who have already been inducted.

After the prolific career Thomas had in Madison from 2003-06, there was little question that he would one day find himself in this position. The Brookfield, Wisconsin native had arguably the best career of any Badger in program history, earning All-American honors twice, All-Big Ten honors three times, and winning the 2006 Outland Trophy, an award given to the nation’s top lineman.

From his position at left tackle on Barry Alvarez’s offensive line, he paved the way for a few of the best running backs in school history over his career, playing a huge role in the success of stars like Anthony Davis, Brian Calhoun, and P.J. Hill.

Somehow, Thomas also managed to put together an NFL career that was even more impressive than his college one. The third overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns enjoyed and 11-year pro career in which he was selected to ten Pro Bowls and named to the All-Pro team nine times (seven on the First Team and two on the Second Team).

However, the most impressive of Thomas’ many accolades may be the 10,363 consecutive snaps that he logged, an NFL record going back to 1999, when the league began tracking them. Despite playing one of the most physically punishing positions in the game, Thomas started Week 1 of his rookie season and played every snap for the Browns on offense until 2017, a simply mind-boggling feat.

Next up for Thomas is a coveted place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, where he will almost certainly be enshrined on the first ballot once he’s eligible in 2023.