2012 Rose Bowl: Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas Proves He's Worth the Hype

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2012 Rose Bowl: Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas Proves He's Worth the Hype
Harry How/Getty Images

With one burst of blinding speed, Oregon freshman phenom De'Anthony Thomas proved he was worth the hype that followed him to Eugene.

Thomas took a hand-off late in the first quarter of the Rose Bowl and proceeded to embarrass the Wisconsin defense. He bolted 91 yards untouched to tie the score at 14.

Many people thought the versatile Thomas would be the x-factor in an otherwise even matchup between the Ducks and Badgers.

He didn't disappoint. The speedster racked up an insane 314 total yards, despite touching the ball just 11 times. That means Oregon gained an average of 28.5 yards just by putting the ball in his hands.

The Ducks eventually won the game 45-38, but I'm surprised they didn't give Thomas more opportunities.

He carried the ball twice. He scored twice.

Thomas also had 125 return yards and 34 receiving yards to add to the 155 he gained on the ground.

Did I mention this kid is a true freshman? He's going to be ridiculously good these next few years.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Of course, everyone assumes your future is bright when you enter college as a 5-star recruit and the No. 1 athlete prospect in your class.

Thomas also earned the approval of Snoop Dogg during his time at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles. If the Doggfather is giving you public endorsements, you better deliver.

Thomas did just that in his first season at Oregon. He finished the year with 18 total touchdowns—seven rushing, nine receiving and two on kickoff returns.

At the Rose Bowl, he was the best player in a game that was practically oozing talent. And at just 18 years of age, he's only going to get better.

If you called Thomas overrated at any point this season, do me a quick favor: Take your foot and insert it snugly into your mouth, because this kid is for real.

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