Preps

Thursday, Dec 06 2012 11:24 PM

BHS graduate a Walter Camp All-American

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Fresno State senior safety Phillip Thomas, a Bakersfield High graduate, was named to the 2012 Walter Camp All-America Team on Thursday, according to www.waltercamp.org.

Thomas' eight interceptions lead the nation and set a new Mountain West Conference single-season record. It is also the most interceptions by a Bulldogs player in 27 years, according to gobulldogs.com. He individually has more interceptions than 29 FBS teams. Thomas has returned three interceptions for touchdowns, which set a school single-season record, tied the Mountain West record, tied for the national lead and is one off the NCAA record.

Thomas has forced four fumbles and that mark tied for the Mountain West lead and ranked sixth nationally He also led the team with 82 tackles.

Thomas was also a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back. Mississippi State All-American defensive back Johnthan Banks won that award Thursday at the Atlantic Dance Hall at the Boardwalk Hotel and Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Banks, also named a Walter Camp All-American, took home the award after posting 59 tackles, seven pass breakups, four interceptions, two tackles for loss, a fumble forced and a fumble recovery in 2012.

California formally introduced Sonny Dykes as its football coach, replacing the fired Jeff Tedford after three years at Louisiana Tech. Dykes takes over a proud program with a refurbished stadium and training facilities, but also one that has failed to make a bowl in two of the past three seasons and has the lowest graduation rate (48 percent) in the Pac-12 Conference.

The decision to hire Dykes was easily the biggest one Athletic Director Sandy Barbour has made in her eight-year tenure. Barbour said she interviewed between six and 12 candidates.

Mike Gundy intends to remain at Oklahoma State and is downplaying reports of a strained relationship with athletic director Mike Holder. Gundy said there was "no question" he planned to stay at his alma mater.

Wisconsin is going retro for the Rose Bowl, talking Barry Alvarez -- their former football coach-turned athletic director -- into returning to the sidelines on New Year's Day against Stanford after Bret Bielema bolted for Arkansas.

A person familiar with the decision told the AP that Butch Jones has rejected an offer to become Colorado's next coach. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because Jones hadn't publicly revealed his decision to stay at the University of Cincinnati.

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