This is the seventh of 10 posts revealing the Wisconsin Badgers' 10 nominees for possible induction into SBN Wisconsin's Hall of Fame. The nominees are revealed in order of most votes from the B5Q readership.
Because he was an offensive lineman, Joe Thomas doesn't always get named along with the great offensive players that ever played at Wisconsin. But one could argue that Thomas, a Brookfield, Wisconsin native, was just as dominant at his position as Ron Dayne was at running back.
After playing as a reserve his freshman year, Thomas started all 38 games at left tackle for the Badgers in his last three seasons at Wisconsin. He was dominant and so athletic that he was used as a defensive end in the 2006 Capital One Bowl, while also playing on the offensive line in that game. He could have left for the NFL after his junior year, but he suffered a torn ACL in the game and came back for his senior year.
In someways that injury was the best thing that could have happened to Thomas. In 2006, Thomas helped P.J. Hill rush for over 1,500 yards while the Badgers set a school record for wins with a 12-1 record. The senior offensive tackle won the Outland Trophy and was drafted No. 3 overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2007 NFL Draft.
Since entering the NFL, Thomas has been named to the Pro Bowl in all three of his professional football seasons.
Thomas joins Barry Alvarez, Ron Dayne, Bo Ryan, Pat Richter, Alan Ameche, Chris Chelios and three other Badgers yet to be named on the SBN Wisconsin Hall of Fame ballot. Ten nominees each from the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks and Marquette Golden Eagles will also be featured on the ballot. Once again, all voting will be done by SBNation readers.