Sept. 22, 2008
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – Arizona football players Mike Thomas and Corey Hall, both 2005 graduates of Desoto High School in Desoto, Texas, have been named Pacific-10 Players of the Week, the league office announced Monday morning.
Thomas, a senior wide receiver/kick returner, was named the Special Teams Player of the Week, while Hall, a junior defensive back, was named the Defensive Player of the Week following UA’s 31-10 victory.
Thomas helped spark the Wildcats to their first victory over UCLA at the Rose Bowl since 1999 as he racked up 257 all-purpose yards – the third highest total in his career. The 5-foot-8 senior was a thorn in the Bruins’ side all day on special teams as he recorded 125 total yards on returns, including 107 yards on six punt returns (17.8 average).
Thomas’ first return of the game came on the final play of the first quarter when he fielded an Aaron Perez punt at his own 27-yard line and raced 25-yards to the UCLA 48-yard line to set up UA’s first touchdown of the game and give the Wildcats the lead for good at 10-7. Later in the quarter, Thomas again gave the Wildcats excellent field position to set up a touchdown drive by returning a Perez punt 13 yards to the 48-yard line. After a third quarter that saw no scoring from either team, Thomas again used his play-making ability in the return game to spark the Wildcats. With UCLA pinned inside its own territory, Thomas fielded a Perez punt at his own 48-yard line and scampered 26 yards down to the UCLA 26-yard line, setting up a UA touchdown that extended the lead to 24-10.
Hall was key part of a UA defense that did not allow an offensive touchdown to UCLA and limited the Bruins to 196 total yards, including only 90 in the second half. As UA’s primary nickel back, Hall is utilized in anticipated passing situations and has been a key component for a UA secondary that ranks second in the nation in pass defense (103.25 ypg) and fifth nationally in pass efficiency defense (85.34). Against the Bruins last Saturday, Hall turned in a career high with seven tackles, including four solo stops in his role as a nickel back. Hall also recorded his first sack of 2008 and matched his career high by breaking up two passes, which helped limit UCLA to only 81 passing yards in the game – the second time UA has kept an opponent under 100 yards passing this season.
The Desoto duo were a part of Head Coach Mike Stoops’ first complete recruiting class in 2005 that was ranked in the Top 20 by most major recruiting services. The class, which also included Desoto teammate Donald Horton Jr., ranked as high as No. 11 in the nation and second in the Pac-10.