Dec. 30, 2012
By Jason Clay
By Jason Clay
FRESNO, Calif. - Senior safety Phillip Thomas became the first Bulldog football player in school history to be selected as an unanimous first-team All-American and his feat marks the No. 2 moment for Fresno State Athletics in 2012.
Thomas became the most decorated player in school history when he was named a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, the Sporting News, Walter Camp Football Foundation, Associated Press and the Football Writers Association of America - the five used to determine unanimous selections.
"It means a lot. I'm very appreciative of all the accolades and notoriety I'm getting right now," Thomas said. "I just appreciate my teammates because they do it for me as well as I do it for them and they deserve the credit. None of the accolades I got - All-America team or anything - has been me by myself.
"It's just a good thing for Fresno State football to be able to have something like this happen to get people around the nation to notice Fresno State football."
The unanimous All-America distinction capped off an awards-filled season for the safety from Bakersfield. He was also the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, received the CFPA's Defensive Backs Trophy and became the first Bulldog ever to be a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award.
"Obviously it is a great indication of the kind of year he had," head coach Tim DeRuyter said of Thomas' accolades in 2012. "He worked extremely hard to come back after his injury a year ago. He really took well to the coaching and Tim McDonald did a great job with him.
"He put in the work and he absolutely produced. He was a guy that sparked our defense with eight interceptions and three scores, so all these accolades he is getting are very well deserved and for him to be the first unanimous All-American in Fresno State history, I think they picked a great one to do that."
Thomas led the nation in 2012 with eight interceptions. His three interceptions returned for touchdowns also tied for the most by any FBS player as did his nine total take-aways.
He led the team in tackles (84) and tackles for a loss (12.0) while forcing four fumbles.
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