Hart High School football’s two-way player Ashton Thomas transferred in from Chaminade High school ahead of his junior season in 2018. With the help of his friends and family, Thomas settled into a life with the Indians.
“It was a little bit easier because I made the transition and the people that wanted to be my family and connect with me, they never gave up on me,” Thomas said. “The coaches made the offense real easy for you to understand so I feel at that point, film was a lot easier to understand.”
Two seasons later, after a breakout senior campaign, where he was named an All-Foothill League and All-SCV First Team Offensive selection, Thomas is ready to call another place home.
Signing with Azusa Pacific University on Thursday, he takes the next step to evolving in and perfecting his craft: football.
“I just felt like Azusa Pacific is home,” Thomas said. “It’s the perfect place to be for the advancement of becoming the best player that I can be. I felt that they would push me as a competitor, give me opportunities to play early and it’s close to my family so I won’t be getting homesick and it will be easier to stay focused because I will have my family here to support me. It’s just home.”
Thomas will exclusively be playing cornerback for the Cougars, who finished 1-9 overall, winning one Great Northwest Athletic Conference game in their most recent season, with his infectious energy and in-your-face defensive tenacity.
The same energy that earned him one of the Foothill League’s fiercest defensive backs reputations on his way to three interceptions and six pass deflections on the season. Thomas tied for fourth in interceptions in the league.
“I’m looking to add some energy, some swag to it,” Thomas said. “Bring my personality onto the field, my trash-talking and my fierce competitiveness. I’m going to irritate somebody. I’m going to be the little gnat, always talking and having fun with the game, really.”
Developing his skills through hard work, desire and extreme dedication, Thomas worked tirelessly, with the help of his uncle, to become the player that he is today.
Offensively, Thomas was a handful, eclipsing the 100-yard mark in receiving yards four times this season and only had two games with five or less receptions.
Catching a touchdown in all but two games, Thomas finished his senior year with 1,119 receiving yards, 13 receiving touchdowns and averaged 93 yards per game. He led the league in all three categories.
“Everything that my uncle and I talked about all summer,” Thomas said of his milestones. “Me beating his high school records, doing the things that he did in high school because he set the bar really high for me. We put in so much work over the summer, it was just a blessing to see all the hard work pay off.”
Coming up big when the time called for it, Thomas had his best game in a 28-21 win over West Ranch where he caught 11 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown. In the Indians’ two playoff games, Thomas also caught 11 receptions.
The Cougars and Thomas open up the 2020 Football Season with a home game against West Texas A&M.
“I’ve always dreamed of playing at the next level,” Thomas said. “It’s something that I did go to sleep dreaming about as a kid, running around in my drawers and playing football, something that I love to do. I always knew that football was something that I wanted to do in life and to be able to have this opportunity is a blessing. All the hard work that I’ve put in over the years, everything that has led up to this moment and signing has been God’s call.”