LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech Hall of Famer and Ring of Honor member Zach Thomas is now one step closer to adding another prestigious title to his resume: NFL Hall of Famer.
The former Red Raider and Miami Dolphins great was tabbed one of 15 finalists for the Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Thursday evening as it unveiled its 2020 modern-era finalists.
The finalists will be presented to the full 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee during its annual meeting on "Selection Saturday," on Feb. 1, 2020, the day before Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium. The Selection Committee will elect five Modern-Era players for the Class of 2020.
Thomas enjoyed a 13-year career in the NFL. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins and went on to become a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, which ranks as the third most appearances in franchise history.
A 2015 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, Thomas remains a celebrated figure in Texas Tech history after a stellar four-year career where he led the Red Raiders to three bowl games. Thomas was a two-time Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year honoree as well as a finalist for the prestigious Butkus Award.
A native of Pampa, Thomas' game-winning interception return for touchdown in the 1995 game against arch-rival Texas A&M ranks as one of the most celebrated single plays in school history. The play continues to garner thunderous reaction when played for the fans at home games in Jones AT&T Stadium and helped cement his legacy as one of the best players to ever wear a Texas Tech uniform.
Overlooked by most Division I schools due to his size, former Texas Tech head coach Spike Dykes saw something in Thomas that other didn't. His gamble paid off as Thomas went on to become a unanimous first-team All-American still ranks fifth all-time with 390 career tackles, including 131 during his senior season. He also totaled six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, seven pass breakups and two interceptions.
During his career, he led the Red Raiders to three bowl games (1993 John Hancock; 1994 Cotton; 1995 Copper) and a Southwest Conference Championship in 1994. He was named the consensus Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the year in both 1994 and 1995 and was a finalist for the Butkus Award in 1995.