NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- If Texas wins the BCS title game, the Longhorns already have the entertainment for their victory party. You probably already knew receiver Jordan Shipley played guitar, but another Longhorn has Shipley beat by two instruments. Safety Earl Thomas plays piano, drums and tenor sax.
When Thomas isn't obliterating opposing receivers, he plays piano in a jazz quartet called The Bad Bones. When he's home in Orange, Texas, he plays drums in his church band. And at halftime of his high school games, Thomas used to strip off his shoulder pads and play the sax.
Thomas, who is known to tickle the ivories whenever the Longhorns stay in a hotel with a piano in the lobby, said his grandfather, a pastor, first encouraged him to take up the piano a few years ago after Thomas' uncle - the reigning church piano player - left for college. "I was playing the drums at first," Thomas said. "We didn't have a piano player. My grandpa told me to go up there. He was like, ‘Son, make some music. Go bang on something.'"
Thomas may have started out banging on the keys, but he learned quickly. Now, he lays down the funkier grooves than any other All-America player. The ladies love it, too. "Oh yeah," Thomas said. "It definitely gets you brownie points."