Phillip ThomasSafety | Fresno State
There are several reasons Fresno State was much improved this season, and No. 16 playing center field was a big one. The 6-1, 215-pound Thomas hauled in a nation-leading eight interceptions -- including three that he returned for touchdowns, which tied him for the national lead with Stanford's Ed Reynolds.
The senior also produced a pair of multi-interception games, snagging three picks against Colorado (two of which he returned for touchdowns) and two against San Diego State. Thomas, a runner-up for the Thorpe Award, also led the Bulldogs in total tackles (82), tackles for a loss (12) and forced fumbles (4). He was also second on the team in sacks (4). -- Kevin Gemmell