Oregon's all-everything sophomore De’Anthony Thomas burst on to the collegiate scene last season. As a freshman, he made dynamic plays and tossed his name into the hat of players to watch for in 2012.
Thomas comes into the 2012 season as one of the key players for the Oregon Ducks offense and as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate.
Oregon returns from a PAC-12 title and a Rose Bowl victory against the Wisconsin Badgers. They also return 12 starters total but lose key figures from the offense such as quarterback Darron Thomas, running back LaMichael James and receiver Lavasier Tuinei.
With those key figures gone, Head Coach Chip Kelly will depend on Thomas to be the spark for the Ducks so they can make a run for PAC-12 and national title aspirations.
Thomas is a fan favorite in Oregon, and everyone can't wait to witness what the sophomore sensation can accomplish this season.
Thomas plays the "Taser" position, a position Kelly created that allows the running back to be a hybrid running back/wide receiver/tight end.
He proved effective occupying the spot last season, scoring 16 touchdowns (nine receiving, seven rushing) on just 101 offensive touches. That's just fewer than 16 percent of his touches accounting for touchdowns.
With an increased role, Thomas can easily eclipse 1000 yards rushing and in the 800 yard range for receiving. Long time running back Kenyon Barner returns as well, so the two backs can be a legit one-two punch in the back field.
His particular position is perfect for him to execute. He’s too small to be an every down back but too dynamic to just be relegated to receiver.
That’s why double digit rushing and receiving touchdowns seems realistic for Thomas. He could possibly be the most special talent Chip Kelly has ever coached.
It's also impossible to forget his contributions to the return game. He tallied two kick return touchdowns on 36 attempts.
His all-purpose yardage last season was 2235 yards. Thomas can achieve well over 3000 yards and be the most effective all-purpose back in the nation.
His sleek and slender frame, matched with his speed, will only cause more problems against his opponents, especially now with an increased role.
And with reports coming out that Thomas has gotten bigger, stronger and faster, the transition into primary contributor should be easier as he can take more of a pounding.
DeAnthony Thomas has all the intangibles to be the most explosive player in all of college football this coming season, easily the most unique and most watched for a skilled position player as well.
The Oregon Ducks and DeAnthony Thomas make their debut against Arkansas State September 1.
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