Jan. 4, 2001

Paul Wong
Anthony Thomas was the Big Ten”s Freshman of the Year in 1997.<br><br>FILE PHOTO

ORLANDO Anthony Thomas is a soft-spoken man. Which, today, is just fine. Because his name is now atop the list of Michigan”s most elite backs in history, and there are no more questions to be asked.

Except perhaps one.

How does it feel?

“Well,” Thomas said, “it hasn”t really set in yet.”

In fact, as the senior rumbled into the endzone for Michigan”s second touchdown Monday, he didn”t even realize he”d set the all-time rushing record.

It was just another big gainer for the tailback. Just another touchdown.

“What I appreciate about Anthony is that he has never changed,” Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. “All the accolades, all the awards that he won never changed him. He”s the same guy that walked in here.”

His powerful style immediately turned heads, and as the season wore on, Carr and the coaching staff gave Thomas more opportunity to make a name for himself. In contests against apparent underdogs like Baylor and Iowa, Thomas was given more than 20 carries and rushed for over 100 yards a game.

By the time the hype was in swing for Michigan”s Rose Bowl showdown, the freshman had indeed made a name for himself: The A-Train.

Anthony Thomas finished his Michigan career as strong as ever at the Citrus Bowl. It was only a year ago that Thomas contemplated leaving the Wolverines for the NFL. Now he holds almost every running back record at Michigan. Along with racking up 4,472 career rushing yards to pass Jamie Morris for a Michigan season-rushing record, Anthony Thomas added a few more accolades this season:

o Modern-era school record for career scoring (336 points).

o School record for career touchdowns (56).

o Two Citrus Bowl MVP awards, the first Michigan player in 55 years to be named a bowl MVP twice.

o Four-straight bowl victories in his career, the first time the Wolverines have won four-straight bowl games.

o Finished career with 924 carries and 55 rushing touchdowns. Coming into the Citrus Bowl, Thomas already held the record for career rushing touchdowns.

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