Walnut Creek, CA (KMTR) - University of Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas was named Pac-12 co-offensive freshman player of the year and was one of five Ducks to make the all-Pac-12 first team, conference officials announced Monday.
Thomas, who leads all freshmen in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) with 16 touchdowns, became the third Oregon player to earn conference freshman of the year honors, joining teammate and fellow running back LaMichael James (2009) and former UO defensive back Jairus Byrd (2006). A true freshman from Los Angeles, Thomas ranks tenth nationally and second to James in the Pac-12 in all-purpose yards with an average of 159.0 per contest. Thomas shares the award with USC wide receiver Marqise Lee.
The all-Pac-12 team features Thomas as the return specialist, along with James at running back, Dion Jordan at defensive line, Josh Kaddu at linebacker and Eddie Pleasant at defensive back. The first-team accolades are firsts for all but James, a two-time choice.
On the second team, Oregon is represented by David Paulson at tight end, John Boyett at defensive back and punter Jackson Rice. Paulson was a first-team pick a year ago while Boyett was honorable mention.
Four Ducks received honorable mention: Mark Asper (OL), Taylor Hart (DL), Dewitt Stuckey (LB), Terrell Turner (DL).
Oregon's five first-team selections were the third-most behind USC with seven and Stanford with six. Last year, the Ducks had a school-record seven players on the top squad.
PAC-12 POSTSEASON AWARDS (courtesy Pac-12)
Offensive Player of the Year Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: Luck, a junior from Houston, Texas, becomes the fifth player to twice be named Offensive Player of the Year. He joins Reggie Bush (USC, 2004-05), Ruben Mayes (WSU, 1984-85), John Elway (STAN, 1980, 82) and Charles White (USC, 1978-79). Luck has completed 261 of 373 passes for 3,170 yards and 35 touchdowns this season. In the regular season finale against Notre Dame, Luck broke the Stanford career record held by John Elway (77) and his own single-season record for touchdowns (32), bringing his career total to 80 and his season total to 35. Luck also holds the Stanford record for total offense with 10,218 yards. He leads the Pac-12 and ranks fifth in the NCAA with a 167.5 passing efficiency. Under Luck’s leadership, the Cardinal averaged 43.6 points per game, scoring 30 or more points in 11 of 12 games, and averaged 480.9 yards in total offense. The Cardinal are 31-6 in Luck’s 37 career starts.
Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year Mychal Kendricks, LB, California: Kendricks, a senior from Fresno, Calif., leads the Golden Bears and ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with 8.0 tackles per game (96 total). He is also tied for third in the Conference with 13 tackles for loss. Kendricks has played a key role on a Cal defense that ranks 27th nationally in total defense, holding opponents to 339.42 yards per game, and has amassed 2.67 sacks per game to rank seventh. Kendricks has recorded three sacks for 30 yards this season. He is Cal’s active career leader in several defensive categories including tackles (248), tackles for loss (35) and sacks (13.5). California’s defense held seven opponents to 15 or fewer points this season.
Freshman Offensive Co-Players of the Year Marqise Lee, WR, USC and De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon: Lee, a true freshman from Inglewood, Calif., has already proved to be one of the biggest offensive threats in the Pac-12 with 73 catches for 1,143 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first season. He ranks fifth in the Pac-12 with 6.1 receptions per game and 95.2 receiving yards per game. Lee earned Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after recording 325 all-purpose yards, including a career high 187 receiving yards, in USC’s win over Oregon.
Thomas, a true freshman from Los Angeles, Calif., has 1,908 all-purpose yards to rank fifth on the single-season list at Oregon. He holds the Duck freshman record with 16 touchdowns and is one shy of the record by a first-year player set by LeGarrette Blount in 2008. Thomas has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns this season, a 93-yard return against Washington State and a 96-yard score against USC. His 96-yard effort is tied for seventh-longest in Oregon history.
Freshman Defensive Player of the Year Dion Bailey, LB, USC: Bailey, a redshirt freshman from Lakewood, Calif., was a standout member of the Trojans defense and tied for the team lead with 81 tackles on the season. He averaged 7.4 tackles per game to rank sixth in the Pac-12. Bailey had two sacks, two interceptions and one forced fumble. He had a career-high 14 tackles against Arizona, the most by a USC freshman since Chris Claiborne’s 20 in 1996.
Coach of the Year David Shaw, Stanford: In his first season at the helm of the Stanford program, Shaw has led the Cardinal to a second-straight 11-1 regular season record, its first back-to-back 10-win seasons in program history. It is just the fifth 10-win season overall. Shaw has continued Stanford’s recent success as the squad has been ranked in the top-10 of the AP poll for 21 straight weeks. Stanford ranks fifth nationally in scoring offense (43.58 points per game) and 10th in total offense (480.92 yards per game). The Cardinal also ranks among the best in several defensive categories including fifth in rushing defense (90.33 yards per game) and 24th in total defense (331.42 yards per game). Several of Shaw’s athletes are finalists for national awards including Luck (Maxwell and O’Brien Awards) and offensive guard David DeCastro (Outland Trophy).