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Perseverance Paid Off for Clevan Thomas

Clevan Thomas took the long route to the end zone. When the redshirt sophomore wide receiver finally reached it last Saturday vs. Arkansas, he was overwhelmed with emotion.

“It was special,” Thomas said shortly after the game concluded.

His first career touchdown came from a peculiar place. The 10-yard back-shoulder fade to Thomas was delivered by one of his closest friends, Lynn Bowden.

“It was really special because my freshman year it was me and Lynn. Lynn always had my back,” Thomas said. “Lynn knew what I was capable of and for him to throw me my first touchdown, it brought me to a tear.”

For years Bowden filled the role Thomas expected to play. As an early enrollee in 2017, coaches heaped praise upon Clevan throughout spring practice, culminating with a score in the Blue/White Game. That fall, finding a spot in the slot rotation became more difficult when Bowden arrived on campus. Thomas saw action in eight games as a true freshman. The following year, his playing time dwindled. He opted to use the opportunity to redshirt, while others encouraged him to pursue opportunities elsewhere.

I had some family and friends say you should leave there, etcetera, etcetera, but my heart’s here,” Thomas said. “I bleed blue. My family loves it here. I just kept my mental, my hard work and when my time came, I showed up.”

Bowden knew Thomas was prepared to make the play when his number was called.

“A lot of guys, they get anxious, they want to play. They think leaving is something to do,” Bowden said. “Once we meet with each other and started bonding, it just spread, the love. You could see it on the sideline and on the field. Our juice went straight up. With Clevan, he’s hard on himself, so if he makes a mistake he can get down on himself. With that play right there, it can boost his confidence the rest of the year.”

After the game in the locker room, Mark Stoops used Clevan as an example for the rest of the young players who are paying their dues.

“It was really big,” Stoops recalled in his postgame press conference. “Clevan has been working for years and doesn’t always get the opportunity. It’s too easy in this day and age for guys just to chuck it in and throw in the towel or pout and all those type of things. It’s really good to see guys grind their way through and when they get their opportunity make the most of it.”


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

10 Comments for Perseverance Paid Off for Clevan Thomas

  1. JASUN74
    7:34 pm October 17, 2019 Permalink

    This is a story of True Success!! This just adds to the already huge amount of reasons as to Why I love College Sports. I really do understand a kid leaving if he’s never going to get a chance to play, but if you’re close, you stick it out and work hard. I remember watching his high school film and was excited about Thomas, he had good speed and his hands were as good as any five star recruits that I’d seen. He’s just been behind one of the most exciting players to come through Kentucky since Cobb. Lol. Soo glad he has stuck with it and now, I really think he’s going to start becoming a threat! Great story for any young kid! Go Cats!!

    • Matt10
      9:12 pm October 17, 2019 Permalink

      Very well said. Hat tip.

  2. J. Did
    7:39 pm October 17, 2019 Permalink

    …..And he shall be Clevan!
    And he shall be a good man!
    And he shall be Clevan!
    In tradition with the family plan!
    And he shall be Clevan!
    And he shall be a good man!
    He shall be Clevan!

  3. wildcatlove4life
    8:29 pm October 17, 2019 Permalink

    Clevan is a good young man…he saw me cramping up at the Florida game last year and offered me some water…I really appreciated that gesture…i wish him all the success possible!

    • ukisdabest
      10:52 am October 18, 2019 Permalink

      Did you play in that game??

  4. zoupman
    8:31 pm October 17, 2019 Permalink

    Love it. Way to go Cleave.

  5. cathatter
    10:11 pm October 17, 2019 Permalink

    on tv that looked like a great pass – but from that view the ball really died before it got to Clevan….afraid the long ball wont be on Bowdens playlist!???

  6. notFromhere
    10:58 pm October 17, 2019 Permalink

    Love this young man! Stoked when he caught that pass! People at the restaurant where we watched the 2nd half were like, “why is he yelling his fool head off? He related to that boy?” That was awesome and i hope we see tons more of it!

  7. BluKudzu
    2:38 pm October 18, 2019 Permalink

    Hoping he has a great game against Georgia.