CAREER: Serious contender for All-America accolades and other defensive awards this season ... returns for his fifth year after receiving approval from Notre Dame's Faculty Board on Athletics ... one of the most electrifying players in college football enters his final season slimmer and quicker after a strong spring session ... a two-time third-team All-American by the Associated Press (2005 and 2006) and earned second-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation in 2006 ... along with teammate Maurice Crum, named to the preseason Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy and Lott Award watch lists ... selected a preseason first-team All-American by Athlon , The Sporting News and Phil Steele ... rated the top strong safety in the nation by Phil Steele and The Sporting News ... ranked the top senior safety in the country by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper ... named to the 2007 second-team preseason All-America team by Lindy's and rated the third-best safety entering the nation by the same publication ... has scored seven career touchdowns (three punt returns, two interception returns and two fumble returns) ... tied for most career punt returns for a touchdown in school history (Tim Brown, Nick Rassas, Allen Rossum, Ricky Watters are the others) ... ranks 10th all-time at Notre Dame with 220 tackles including 4.5 tackles for loss and one sack with six interceptions, seven pass break-ups, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries ... averaged 12.2 yards on 43 career punt returns to rank eighth all-time at Notre Dame ... tied for first in career fumble returns for a touchdown (tied with Tony Driver), tied for fifth in interception returns for a touchdown (tied with several players; one touchdown behind four-way tie for first) ... started all 36 games he has appeared in for the Irish ... named a captain for the second consecutive year in 2007 with Travis Thomas, with John Carlson and Maurice Crum Jr. joining them as team captains in 2007 ... also a member of the team's leadership committee for the second-straight campaign.
2006 SEASON (SENIOR): Selected to the second-team All-America squad by the Walter Camp Football Foundation ... Started 12 of 13 games, missing the Stanford game due to injury ... chosen one of three captains (along with Brady Quinn and Travis Thomas) in a vote by his teammates ... also a member of the team's leadership committee ... named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press ... selected a semi-finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to the nation's best defensive back ... despite missing a game, ranked third on the team with 79 tackles and added one tackle for loss, two pass break-ups, two quarterback hurries, forced one fumble and returned a fumble 25 yards for a touchdown ... also averaged 9.0 yards on 16 punt returns highlighted by a 52-yard punt return for a touchdown vs. North Carolina ... led the defense in the season opener with eight tackles at Georgia Tech including one tackle for loss ... paced the secondary and was second on the team with seven stops vs. Penn State ... forced a fumble and returned a fumble 25 yards for a touchdown against the Nittany Lions ... produced eight tackles against Michigan ... notched seven tackles at Michigan State and one pass break-up and returned one punt 25 yards ... tallied a career-high and game-high 14 tackles vs. Navy in Baltimore ... ranked second on the team and led the secondary with seven tackles vs. North Carolina ... returned three punts for 69 yards against the Tar Heels including a 52-yard return for a touchdown -- his third career punt return for a touchdown ... credited with five tackles at USC and also returned five kickoffs for 107 yards with a long of 28 against the Trojans ... second on the team with 10 tackles, seven solo, and a pass break-up against LSU in the Sugar Bowl.
2005 (JUNIOR): Was one of college football's finest as a safety or punt return man ... one of four recipients of the Nick Pietrosante Award, presented annually to the Notre Dame player who best exemplifies the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and pride shown by the late Irish All-America fullback ... accounted for four TDs on returns (two interception returns and two punt returns) ... tough competitor who provided leadership to the secondary and on special teams ... started all 12 games at safety (24 career starts - all consecutive) ... fourth on the team with 71 tackles (42 solos) and a team-best five interceptions, four pass breakups and a forced fumble ... returned 27 punts for 379 yards (14.0-yard average) and two TDs (78 and 60 yards) ... made nine tackles (four solos) against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl ... credited with one tackle against Stanford, in addition to returning six punts for 34 yards against the Cardinal ... made two tackles and returned three punts for 22 yards versus Syracuse ... made five tackles (two solos) and intercepted a pass in the win over Navy ... had a huge game versus Tennessee, returning a punt for a score (78 yards) and an interception for a score (33 yards) while making nine tackles and registering a quarterback sack (10 yards) ... returned an intercepted pass 83 yards for a TD to seal Notre Dame's 49-23 win over BYU ... had eight tackles (four solos) and returned two punts for 15 yards against the Cougars ... returned a punt 60 yards for a TD versus USC, breaking three tackles on the way to giving the Irish a 21-14 lead in the second quarter ... also made six tackles (four solos) against the Trojans ... had four tackles (three solos) in the win at Purdue ... made three tackles (all solos) and broke up two passes against Washington ... returned two punts for 31 yards (a 15.5-yard average) against Washington, including a 25-yard return ... had seven tackles (five solos) and forced a fumble versus Michigan State ... made a crucial interception of a Michigan pass deep in Notre Dame territory to end a Wolverine scoring threat in the second period of the 17-10 Irish win ... made eight tackles (three solos), intercepted a pass and broke up a pass in the season-opening 42-21 win at Pittsburgh ... made nine tackles (eight solos), intercepted a pass and broke up a pass at Michigan ... returned two punts for 42 yards (21-yard average) with a long of 23 yards (versus Michigan) ... logged 298:38 of playing time with 104 special teams appearances.
2004 (SOPHOMORE): Started all 12 games at strong safety ... finished fourth on the team with 70 tackles (37 solos) ... made his collegiate debut against BYU and had five tackles, including 1.5 tackles-for-loss ... collected four tackles against Michigan ... was named Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 19 following his performance at Michigan State as he had a team-high nine tackles, forced a fumble and returned it for a 75-yard TD and had an interception that he returned for 22 yards to set up another Irish score ... had five solo tackles, one for a loss, versus Purdue ... made a team-leading seven tackles against Stanford ... collected nine tackles in the Navy game ... made five stops against Boston College ... assisted on seven tackles versus Tennessee ... made six tackles against Pittsburgh ... had five stops against USC ... led the team with seven tackles (five solos) against Oregon State in the Insight Bowl ... was named the defensive player of the game in the 2004 Blue-Gold final spring game when he intercepted a pass and was active all over the field ... made 24 special teams appearances and logged 330:35 of playing time.
2003 (FRESHMAN): Did not see playing time as a rookie reserve safety.
HIGH SCHOOL AND PERSONAL DATA: Graduated from Buffalo Grove (Ill.) High School ... USA Today first-team prep All-American ... named Chicago area player of the year as a senior by the Chicago Sun-Times ... ranked 11th on the Detroit Free Press Best of the Midwest team ... rated 29th on ESPN list of the nation's top 100 players ... Gatorade Player of the Year for Illinois ... as a senior in 2002, he threw for 1,382 yards and 11 TDs and rushed for 1,287 yards and 23 TDs (Buffalo Grove single-season record), adding 41 tackles and three interceptions at safety ... named to Illinois all-state team by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Champaign News-Gazette ... selected Great Northwest Defensive Player of the Year by the Pioneer Press ... set Buffalo Grove career records for points scored (274), TDs (45), rushing attempts (406), rushing yards (2,013) and passing attempts (484) ... a three-year starter at quarterback and safety who also returned punts and kickoffs ... played defensive back in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, making five tackles and breaking up two passes ... a nationally-ranked boxer who has competed in the Golden Gloves program since age nine, achieving a 60-13 amateur record ... a Silver Gloves national finalist in 1998, 1999 and 2000 ... named regional boxer of the year ... made his professional boxing debut on June 10, 2006, in Madison Square Garden in New York City, knocking out Robert Bell in 49 seconds ... a sprinter who finished sixth in the 100 meters at the Illinois state prep track championships in 2002 ... set 11 school records in track and field, including the 100 meters at 10.4 ... one of three children ... sister Kristen played softball at Ohio University ... full name is Thomas Michael Zbikowski ... born May 22, 1985, in Park Ridge, Ill. ... graduated in May 2007 from the College of Arts and Letters, with degrees in sociology and computer applications ... earned 3.0 grade-point average in `06 spring semester ... enrolled in graduate studies.