All-Decade Team Unveiling Begins with Specialists
Aug. 16, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois announced the first group of players on the All-Decade Team Tuesday, with placekicker Jason Reda, return man Pierre Thomas and punter Steve Weatherford being named to the 31-player team. The squad, which honors Illini who played between 2000-10, was compiled by a combination of fan voting and input from Division of Intercollegiate Athletics staff.
Reda holds the school record for career points scored with 267 after helping lead the Illini to the 2008 Rose Bowl with a 92-point campaign, which ranks seventh on the single-season points list. He also ranks second in season field goal accuracy (16-of-18, .889 in 2007), third in career field goals (51), career field goal accuracy (51-of-68, .750) and career extra point accuracy (114-of-116, .982). A Ray Guy Award semifinalist in 2007, Reda also made four field goals of 50-plus yards, tied for the most among Illini kickers in school history. He also was a two-time All-Big Ten honoree.
Thomas broke the school record for career kick return yardage with 1,495 yards on 59 returns, and ranks third in career kick return average at 25.3. His 677 kick return yards in 2004 rank second in school history and his 461 yards in 2005 rank eighth. He also ranks fourth in season kick return average at 27.1 yards in 2004. Thomas holds the second- and seventh-best single-game kick return averages in school history and the fourth- and sixth-most kick return yards in a single game in Illinois records. In addition, Thomas' 99-yard kickoff return against Western Michigan on Sept. 18, 2004, is the second-longest kick return and the longest non-lateral kick return in school history. He currently is in his fifth year in the NFL and will play for the New Orleans Saints in 2011.
Weatherford shattered the career punting average record with his 43.5-yard mark and broke the single-season punting average in both 2003 and 2004. He has three of the top five season punting averages and ranks seventh in school history in career punts. He also ranks fifth in career punting yardage, sixth in season punting yardage and seventh in single-game punting average. Weatherford, who was a Ray Guy Award semifinalist in 2004 and 2005, also boomed two punts over 70 yards in his career. He was a Street and Smith honorable mention All-American in 2005 and a three-time All-Big Ten honoree. Weatherford enters his sixth season in 2011 and will play for the New York Giants.
A new position group of the All-Decade Team will be announced each weekday from Aug. 16-26.
The Illini open the 2011 season by hosting Arkansas State at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 3. It is the first of five consecutive home games and eight total home games, the most in Memorial Stadium history. Season and single-game tickets can be purchased here.