Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Four cited as frosh All-Americans
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: December 15, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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ST. LOUIS--University of Arizona receiver Mike Thomas and defensive end Johnathan Turner were named Freshman All-America by The Sporting News today, while teammates Willie Tuitama and Ronnie Palmer garnered honorable mention on the nation's most recognized all-freshmen football squad.

Thomas earned second-team honors and Turner was named to the third-team by the publication, which also operates one of the top sports Internet portal sites,  Thomas also was named today to the second-team All-America squad.

Thomas, Turner and Palmer also were named to The Sporting News Pac-10 All-Freshman Team and Thomas was tabbed as the Pac-10's Offensive Freshman of the Year.

Thomas set Arizona freshman records and put himself at No. 13 on the Wildcats' single-season chart with 52 catches for 771 yards. Five of the receptions went for touchdowns. He earned Pac-10 co-Freshman of the Year honors and in one season is half way toward reaching the UA career receptions Top 15. He had eight catches in games against Stanford and Oregon and pulled down his 52 receptions in 10 contests, playing the final game of the year as a decoy threat with a cast on an injured hand.

Turner started the Cats final 10 games of the season and finished with 27 tacikles, four of those four losses and a sack, with a pass deflection and a forced fumble. Palmer missed five games with injury but came on strong to record 38 tackles in six games including a career-high 14 in UA's victory at Oregon State.

Tuitama took over the starting quarterback role for the final four games of the year after a relief job the prior week, and finished with a 58 percent completion rate, hitting 82 of 142 attempts for nine scores and 1,105 yards. His 136.99 pass efficiency rating stacks up as No. 6 in UA history. He led the Cats to victory with 335 yards passing in his first start on the road at Oregon State and a week later over No. 7-ranked UCLA with a 204-yard effort. In his first action off the bench vs. No. 15 Oregon he completed 18 of 34 throws for two scores and 182 yards.

Another football honor for the Wildcats came earlier this week when UA punter Danny Baugher was named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press. He was a second-team All-Pac-10 selection and one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top punter.

Senior safety Darrell Brooks earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors while senior defensive end Copeland Bryan joined Baugher on the second team along with sophomore cornerback Antoine Cason. UA had five All-Pac-10 honorable mention selections -- senior running back Mike Bell, junior place kicker/punter Nick Folk, sophomore tackle Peter Graniello, junior safety Michael Johnson and junior wide receiver Syndric Steptoe.




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