Robert Thomas Will Return To UCLA

Jan. 11, 2001

UCLA true junior linebacker Robert Thomas, a semifinalist last year for the Butkus Award honoring the nation's outstanding linebacker, has decided to return to UCLA for the 2001 football season.

'I enjoy going to school and playing football at UCLA,' said Thomas. 'I have made a lot of friends here and feel that next year's team has a chance to be a great one and I want to be one of the leaders of this team. Playing in the NFL has always been a goal of mine but I feel that now is not the time. I am very happy to say that I am returning to UCLA for my senior year and look forward to working with our new coordinator.'

'I was very excited to hear of Robert's decision,' said head coach Bob Toledo. 'He has been one of our top defensive players the past two seasons and I expect him to enjoy a great senior year. Robert is a tremendous football player and a great young person and I think he will be an outstanding team leader. He has the respect of his teammates and the coaching staff.'

Thomas, a second-team All-Pac-10 selection in 2000, led the UCLA team with 88 tackles last season and ranked tied for second on the squad with nine tackles for loss despite playing much of the year with a nagging foot injury (stress reaction). He led the Pac-10 with six fumbles forced from his middle linebacker position, including two in the season-opening win over Alabama. The Imperial, CA high school product was credited with a season-best 11 tackles in the game at California in which he also forced a fumble. His regular-season total of 80 tackles ranked him 11th in the conference.

In 1999, his first season as a starter, Thomas ranked second on the team in tackles even though he did not play in three contests. In the game against Arizona that season he was credited with 14 tackles, the most by a Bruin player in four seasons.

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