Demaryius Thomas, Vance Walker Tech’s newest Super Bowl champions

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Demaryius Thomas #88 of the Denver Broncos reacts after a play in the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Demaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos reacts after a play in the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Two years ago, Demaryius Thomas set a Super Bowl record for catches in the Denver Broncos’ crushing defeat to Seattle. Sunday in Super Bowl 50, Thomas’ output was limited to one catch Sunday against Carolina – 12 lower than his record set in Super Bowl 48 – but chances are he’ll take the result.

Thomas and Broncos defensive tackle Vance Walker, also Thomas’ former teammate at Tech, became the school’s 15th and 16th former Jackets players to win a Super Bowl as players.

Thomas finished a rather inconsistent season as a champion with a quiet game but nevertheless made an impact on the game. Thomas had one catch out of six targets, but drew a pass-interference penalty in the end zone on Denver’s final drive that set up the Broncos’ clinching touchdown.

Perhaps the most meaningful aspect of Thomas’ Super Bowl was being able to share it with his mother Katina Smith, who was released from a 15-year prison term last year and watched her son play for just the second time Sunday.

Walker had two tackles, including one on a critical 2nd-and-7 in the fourth quarter at the Denver 19-yard line. Walker’s stop of Mike Tolbert limited him to a three-yard gain. After a false start and incomplete pass on third down, Carolina was held to a field goal to cut Denver’s lead to 16-10.

Interesting to note in the wake of signing day: Thomas was a three-star prospect out of West Laurens High in Dexter, Ga., before becoming an All-ACC wide receiver at Tech, the first receiver selected in the 2010 draft, a three-time Pro Bowler and the recipient of a five-year, $70 million contract this past summer.

Walker was a two-star prospect from Fort Mill, S.C. before earning All-American and All-ACC honors at Tech. He was then a seventh-round pick by the Falcons in 2009, but has played seven NFL seasons with career earnings of $12.3 million.

 


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