This year Thurmond led all receivers with 37 catches for 531 yards and seven touchdowns. He carried the ball 27 times for 98 yards. He had 10 big plays of 20 yards or more.
As a cornerback on defense, Thurmond broke up passes, intercepted passes, and basically played havoc to the opponent’s offense. As a punt returner, Thurmond time and again got his Golden Eagle team in good field position — dodging tackles, reversing field, doing everything he could for that extra yard.
Thurmond’s talent just comes naturally to him, but he does have one added advantage. Thurmond is the son of Jacksonville State University assistant football coach Maxwell Thurmond Sr.
Coach Thurmond also played cornerback in high school, where he was named All-Region at Worth High School in Georgia. After his successful high school career, Thurmond came to Jacksonville State University to play football. He never left.
The elder Thurmond played for the Gamecocks from 1996 until 2000, recording 63 tackles. During his senior year, he made 23 tackles and returned an interception 40 yards to defeat Nicholls State.
After his stint as a football player, Thurmond stayed on as a student assistant and then was hired to be an assistant coach where he serves in charge of receivers and special teams.
As the son of a coach, Sid hasn’t felt any extra pressure with his father being a coach at JSU. “Not really,” says a very quiet and reserved Sid. “I just play hard and try to make plays.”
From time to time Sid does go to the JSU practices and watches his dad and the JSU football players, where he is bound to pick up a few things. “Sometimes he comes to practice,” his dad said. “A lot of times people don’t realize how talented you need to be to be able to play college.”
Sid is picking that up for sure.
As for being coached by his dad, there really is no pressure there either. When Maxwell Thurmond comes back from his away games, sometimes there will be a film of Sid’s latest game sitting on the stand by the TV. If the film is there, it is a sign that Sid wants his dad to look at it. “We’ll talk about it, I’ll tell him what I think, little things like to be sure to protect the ball,” he said. “I try to treat him like I would one of the other guys.”
When Sid was younger, the two Thurmonds would find some time to go out to Germania Springs to hit and throw the ball or to go to the gym to shoot some hoops. Sid also plays baseball and basketball, with basketball being his favorite sport.
The elder Thurmond is 5 feet 6 inches tall. Sid is slightly shorter and weighs 145 pounds. But Sid plays, just as his dad did, like he’s a giant, with the talent to match.
“I tell him just to go out there and play,” said Maxwell Thurmond. “Size matters when you get into college, and he may hit a growth spurt. He swears he is going to be six foot tall, and I tell him OK, good luck to you,” he laughed.
“Height, weight, speed matters after high school,” continued the coach. “If you want to go to the next level, there is a level that those kids can go to.”
The elder Thurmond plays dual roles at games. “I look at things as a coach first and as a dad second,” he said. “When I look at things as a coach, I’m going to look at him as one of my ‘kids’ knowing that his coaches are going to put him in a position where he can be successful.”
This approach helps keep Thurmond unbiased when it comes to his son. “As a dad you don’t see it as clear as you should,” he said. “When I do coach him I am probably harder on him than I am anyone else. I don’t want it ever said that he gets something because I coach at JSU.”
Maxwell Thurmond says he also tries to never say anything to coaches unless his opinion is asked for.
He said he has a simple philosophy that seems to be emulated through Sid. “I’m a fun loving kind of guy,” he said. “I think if you play hard all the rest will be OK.”
Whether it is on the football field, covering the outfield in baseball or dribbling down the court, Sid goes all out. He has fun and is one to give all he has. It makes a coach — and a dad — proud.