At age 51 Joe Thomas, Sr., father of Joe Thomas Jr. - now member of the Green Bay Packers- enrolled in college at South Carolina State with his son. Sr. practiced on and off with the team for four years and was cleared by the NCAA to play in November, with only a couple games left in the season and just in time for Senior Day.
Thomas, Sr. was a leader on his high school football team; a team which made it to the state playoff semifinals. But instead of heading to college after graduation, Joe took different jobs in South Carolina; he was even a professional wrestler with the moniker "Bone Crusher." Eventually, he became a serial entrepreneur and established a profitable construction company.
Yet, football still tugged at his heart. Once he enrolled in college he joined the Bulldogs as a member of the scout team, never travelling to away games. A car accident and subsequent injuries kept father and son from ever playing together. But the 55-year-lold Joe, Sr. kept his dream alive and finally on November 19, #47 took the field during the 1st quarter and carried the ball for 3 yards. Doing so made him the oldest known person to ever play in a Division I football game. And South Carolina State defeated Savannah State, 32-0.