Thomas' father, James Thomas Sr., was a linebacker for the Mountaineers. As a child, J.T. often accompanied him to practice. During his collegiate career, Thomas had 89 total career tackles with 53 solo tackles, five sacks, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and earned the team's Defensive Most Valuable Player award.
Thomas played in a total of 49 games at West Virginia and was a starter for his final 39 games as a weak side linebacker, earning All-Big East honors. He was also designated the recipient of the Iron Mountaineer Award. As a Multi-disciplinary Studies major, Thomas was named to the West Virginia Academic Honor Roll.
"I'm definitely looking forward to playing on the same team with Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs," Thomas told the media shortly after being selected. "Also, Josh Moore one of my best friends from high school is there. He told me 'If you love football you'll love playing for the Bears.'"
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