Lamar Thomas will be stepping into The Swamp in a much different position Saturday, than the last time he was there.
Thomas, who is now the wide receivers coach at the University of Kentucky, grew up in Gainesville and played football at Buchholz High School—even playing a few games in The Swamp during his time there. While there, he was a four-sport letterman, an all-state selection in football and basketball his senior year, and was named the Florida Player of the Year by both the Gainesville Sun and Tampa Tribune.
While it was a surprise to many when Thomas decided not to attend the University of Florida, he went on to have a great career at the University of Miami, where he lettered in three sports and won two national championships in football, 1989 and 1991. He holds the school record for most career receptions with 144, and according to UK Athletics, when he graduated, he ranked second in both receiving yards (2,271) and touchdowns (23), behind only NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin.
Thomas was taken in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he played three seasons. He then went on to become a member of the Miami Dolphins from 1996 to 2000, where he played for three seasons, and spent the last two seasons on injured reserve. He finished his NFL career with 106 catches for 1,558 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Now as wide receivers coach for the Kentucky Wildcats, Thomas is ready to come back to the city where he grew up, and the stadium where he once played to coach against his childhood team. He talks about what this opportunity means to him.
Kentucky lost to Southern Mississippi last week, 44-35, after leading 35-17 at half-time. Thomas is looking for his players to respond positively after the loss, and they’ll be looking to bounce back when they come to the Swamp Saturday. However, he knows the challenge that his team is going up against in playing a team like Florida.
Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday when Florida hopes to make it 30 straight wins against Kentucky.