Cats recognized by Pac-10

Led by Co-Freshman of the Year Mike Thomas and first-team All-Pac-10 honoree Darrell Brooks, a total of nine Arizona football players were recognized by the conference office with postseason honors Monday afternoon. The award winners were selected by the conference's head coaches and ties in voting led to co-winners.

Thomas, a true freshman and Arizona's leading receiver in 2005, shared the top freshman honors with guard Jeremy Perry of Oregon State. Thomas finished the season with 771 yards and five touchdowns on 52 receptions in 11 games played. He set freshmen records at UA for both receptions and receiving yards. Thomas completed the season with a pair of 100-yard receiving games, including a career-best 162 yard effort on four catches in Arizona's 29-27 win at Oregon State.

Senior free safety Brooks, a four-year starter in the defensive secondary, was the lone Arizona player to garner first-team All-Pac-10 honors. The Wildcats' leading tackler for the second consecutive year, Brooks finished his final season at UA with 93 total tackles, 62 solo stops, two interceptions, two passes defended and a pair of forced fumbles. He was a second-team All-Pac-10 honoree in 2004 and garnered honorable mention accolades in 2003. Brooks first-team recognition this season is the first for an Arizona player since Bobby Wade, Lance Briggs and Ray Wells in 2002.

Senior defensive end Copeland Bryan, sophomore cornerback Antoine Cason and senior punter Danny Baugher were all feted with second-team honors.

Bryan, a former walk-on, paced Arizona with 7.5 sacks and finished with 39 tackles in just nine games played.

Cason, an honorable mention selection last season, finished the 2005 campaign with 50 tackles, three interceptions and five passes defended.

Baugher, one of three national finalists for the Ray Guy Award, had his season end prematurely with a knee injury after returning a blocked punt against Oregon. Before the injury, Baugher was leading the nation with a 47.5 yard average on 37 punts. Arizona's all-time leader in total punts, he finished the season with 15 kicks of 50 or more yards, placed 11 punts inside the oppositions 20-yard line, broke two Pac-10 punting records and saw just 14 of his kicks get returned.

Honorable mention selections from Arizona were senior running back Mike Bell (952 yards rushing, five TD), junior place kicker/punter Nick Folk (7 of 11 FG, 31 of 33 PAT, 44.7 yard punting average, 38 of 53 kickoffs for touchbacks), sophomore offensive tackle Peter Graniello (10 starts in 2005), junior strong safety Michael Johnson (60 tackles, four interceptions, defensive TD, four PBU) and junior wide receiver/kick returner Syndric Steptoe (37 rec. 493 yards, TD, 8 rushes, 73 yards, 20 punt returns, 221 yards, 11.1 punt return average, TD, 19 kickoff returns 25.5 kick return average).

USC's Reggie Bush was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, Oregon's Haloti Ngata and Arizona State's Dale Robinson shared the Pat Tillman Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year Award and USC's Pete Carroll and UCLA's Karl Dorrell split Pac-10 Coach of the Year accolades.

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