THE FLATS – After setting or matching five school records with a 100-yard kickoff return versus No. 5 Georgia, Georgia Tech freshman Juanyeh Thomas (Niceville, Fla./Niceville) has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Specialist of the Week, the ACC announced on Monday.
Thomas’ 100-yard return in the first quarter of the Yellow Jackets’ 45-21 loss to fifth-ranked UGA broke or tied the following Georgia Tech records:
- Longest kickoff return (100 yards): Thomas became the fourth Yellow Jacket with a 100-yard return, joining Drew Hill (vs. Georgia, 1978) Dez White (vs. Maryland, 1998) and Jamal Golden (vs. North Carolina, 2012);
- Most kickoff returns for touchdowns in a season (2): Thomas became the third player in school history with two kickoff returns for touchdowns in a single-season, joining Hill (1978) and Golden (2012);
- Most kickoff returns for a touchdown in a season by a freshman (2): Thomas, a true freshman, became the first freshman in Georgia Tech history with two kickoff returns for touchdowns in a season;
- Most kickoff returns for touchdowns in a career (2): With a bowl game plus three seasons still to play, Thomas has already become only the fifth player in school history with two kickoff returns for touchdowns in his career, joining Hill (1975-78), Gary Lee (1983-86), White (1997-99) and Golden (2011-15);
- Kickoff returns for touchdowns in consecutive games: Thomas, who returned a free kick 77 yards for a score against Virginia on Nov. 17, is the first Yellow Jacket to ever have kickoff returns for touchdowns in back-to-back games.
Juanyeh Thomas lunges into the end zone at the end of his 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown versus No. 5 Georgia.
With Thomas’ recognition, at least one Yellow Jacket was named an ACC Player of the Week in each of the last five games of the regular season and six of the last seven games of the campaign.
Georgia Tech ended the regular season at 7-5 overall and 5-3 in ACC play, good for a solo second-place finish in the ACC Coastal Division, and earned a bowl berth for the 20th time in the last 22 seasons. The Jackets will learn their bowl destination on Sunday (Dec. 2).