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Former Ohio State football All-American Aurealius Thomas dead at age 86

Thomas, a Columbus native, was a first-team All-American on Woody Hayes' second national championship team in 1957.
Credit: Provided by the family of Aurealius Thomas

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Former Ohio State Buckeye and first-team All-American Aurealius Thomas has died at the age of 86.

The football program announced on Saturday that he died on Feb. 5.

Thomas, a Columbus native, was a first-team All-American on Woody Hayes' second national championship team in 1957.

He was a versatile player with his College Football Hall of Fame bio reading, "On offense, Ohio State's Aurealius Thomas played in the line as a blocker. On defense he was a middle guard, sometimes a linebacker."

Thomas lettered for the Buckeyes in 1955, 1956 and 1957 and played for two national championship teams.

He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers before joining Ohio State as an assistant coach in 1958.

He also taught science and physical education in Columbus City Schools.

Thomas coached high school football for six years - four at Columbus East and two at Columbus Central.

He earned the title of Central Ohio Coach of the Year in 1964 for leading Columbus East to a 9-0 record.

Thomas also helped 40 students earn college scholarships during his time as a teacher and a coach.

After he retired from the classroom and the gridiron, Thomas worked in the insurance business.

Thomas was also a member of many groups and organizations to give back to the community including the Varsity “O” Alumni Association, the Ohio State University Student Loan Foundation, the Columbus Recreation Board, the United Negro College Fund and the Columbus Leadership Conference.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Ohio State Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.

He is survived by his former wife, Nancy, a daughter, Leah Marshall, and sons Marcus Thomas and Scott Thomas. He had seven grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends.