Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas is only the third Duck to be named freshman of the year. He leads the nation's freshmen with 16 TDs and is a first-team kick returner. - AP

UO's Thomas bags honor

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — University of Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas was named Pac-12 co-freshman offensive player of the year and was one of five Ducks to make the all-Pac-12 Conference first team, officials announced Monday.

Stanford's Andrew Luck was named offensive player of the year and the Cardinal's David Shaw has been honored as the league's best coach in his first season.

Thomas, who leads all freshmen in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) with 16 touchdowns, became the third Oregon player to earn conference freshman honors, joining teammate and fellow running back LaMichael James (2009) and former UO defensive back Jairus Byrd (2006).

A true freshman from Los Angeles, Thomas ranks 10th nationally and second to James in the Pac-12 in all-purpose yards with an average of 159.0 per contest. Thomas shares the award with USC wide receiver Marqise Lee.

Thomas holds the Duck freshman record with 16 touchdowns and is one shy of the record by a first-year player set by LeGarrette Blount in 2008.

Thomas also is the first-team return specialist. He's returned two kickoffs for touchdowns this season, a 93-yard return against Washington State and a 96-yard score against USC. His 96-yard effort is tied for seventh-longest in Oregon history.

The all-Pac-12 team includes Oregon's James at running back, Dion Jordan at defensive line, Josh Kaddu at linebacker and Eddie Pleasant at defensive back.

The first-team accolades are firsts for all but James, a two-time choice.

On the second team, Oregon is represented by David Paulson at tight end, John Boyett at defensive back and punter Jackson Rice. Paulson was a first-team pick a year ago while Boyett was honorable mention.

Four Ducks received honorable mention: offensive lineman Mark Asper, defensive lineman Taylor Hart, linebacker Dewitt Stuckey and defensive lineman Terrell Turner.

Oregon's five first-team selections were the third-most behind USC with seven and Stanford with six. Last year, the Ducks had a school-record seven players on the top squad.

Oregon State defensive back Jordan Poyer was a second-team choice. Beavers to receive honorable mention were defensive lineman Scott Crichton, punter Johnny Hekker, offensive lineman Grant Johnson, defensive back Lance Mitchell and wide receiver Markus Wheaton.

Luck became the fifth player to twice take home the top offensive award. He joins USC's Reggie Bush, Washington State's Rueben Mayes, Stanford's John Elway and Southern California's Charles White in that elite class.

The Heisman Trophy hopeful threw for 3,170 yards and 35 touchdowns, breaking the Stanford single-season record of 32 he set a year ago. He also has 80 touchdown passes in his career, eclipsing Elway's mark of 77 — and doing it in only three years.

Joining Luck and James in the first-team backfield was Washington running back Chris Polk.

USC quarterback Matt Barkley, also Heisman Trophy candidate, was the second-team quarterback.

Shaw took over for Jim Harbaugh and put the fourth-ranked Cardinal (11-1, 8-1) in position for a second straight BCS bowl. Stanford had never had consecutive 10-win seasons.

California linebacker Mychal Kendricks won defensive player of the year. The senior leads the Golden Bears and ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with eight tackles per game and 96 total.

Kendricks is also Cal's active career leader in several defensive categories, including tackles (248), tackles for loss (35) and sacks (131/2;). The Bears defense held seven opponents to 15 or fewer points this season.

USC rookie Lee is rapidly rising to the level of great Trojans receivers, finishing with 73 catches for 1,143 yards and 11 touchdowns. He ranks fifth in the league with 6.1 receptions per game and 95.2 receiving yards per game.

USC linebacker Dion Bailey was awarded freshman defensive player of the year.

Of the 26 first-team selections, 10 are seniors, 11 are juniors, three are sophomores and two are freshmen.

USC wide receiver Robert Woods was the lone unanimous selection named on the first-team ballot of all 12 head coaches.

Punter Bryan Anger of California was a three-time selection, the fourth ever for a Bears player.

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