Oregon's Thomas declares for NFL draft
Star running back to forgo senior year with Ducks
Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas will forgo his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL draft, making the announcement Sunday.
Thomas (5-foot-9, 169 pounds) proved to be one of the most explosive, exciting and versatile players in college football, excelling as a rusher, receiver in the slot and out of the backfield, and return specialist.
Thomas scored 46 total touchdowns (26 rushing, 15 receiving, four on kick returns, one on a punt return) in his three seasons with the Ducks, but his junior season was scuttled by a sprained ankle. When he returned to the lineup late in the year, Thomas had fallen behind sophomore Byron Marshall and freshman Thomas Tyner in the running back pecking order.
Nicknamed the "Black Mamba" by rapper Snoop Dogg, "Thomas could be an extremely valuable specialty player if paired with a creative offensive coordinator," Dan Greenspan wrote on NFL.com. "However, because of his small stature, many teams could view Thomas as nothing more than a luxury capable of contributing on only a handful of snaps per game."
Few were as statistically productive, and there’s been no more electrifying player in recent Oregon football history than De’Anthony Thomas.
Announcing the decision on Goducks.com, Editor Rob Moseley wrote, "From his two touchdowns on two rushes in the 2012 Rose Bowl to the tone-setting kickoff return in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl, Thomas had a knack for big moments on the biggest stages.
"I am officially withdrawing from the University of Oregon to pursue a professional career in the NFL," Thomas said in a prepared statement Sunday. "I want to express my deepest appreciation and thanks to the University and all of my teammates, coaches and fans. I look forward to staying connected to the university and visiting the sidelines as often as possible."
Thomas leaves Oregon in the conversation as the best all-purpose player in school history. His 5,345 career yards trail only all-time greats LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, with whom Thomas teamed in the Ducks' most recent Pac-12 championship season of 2011. Thomas holds Oregon records for kickoff return yards (1,885) and punt return average (17.1), and he's fourth in career scoring (278 points).
Also a standout member of the UO track and field team, Thomas anchored the 4x100-meter relay that advanced to the 2012 NCAA Championships and ran the sixth-fastest time in school history, 39.89 seconds.
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