De'Anthony Thomas Enters Heisman Race After Huge Game vs. Arkansas State

Scott CarasikContributor IISeptember 2, 2012

EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 1: De'Anthony Thomas #6 of the Oregon Ducks rushes for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Arkansas State Red Wolves on September 1, 2012 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images)
Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images

Oregon Duck De'Anthony Thomas had three touchdowns in eight touches in the game played against Arkansas State to place himself right into the Heisman race.

There are very few players out there who can put up 2,200 all-purpose yards in a season like De'Anthony Thomas can. However, he did it in 2011 as a true freshman when he had 2,235 yards from scrimmage—595 rushing, 605 receiving, 52 punt returning and 983 kick returning.

In his first game of the season, Thomas showed that he could set a pace for over 2,500 all-purpose yards in 2012 to go along with a 20 touchdown season. He had 125 yards total—64 rushing, 55 receiving, six punt returning—against Arkansas State in his eight touches for an average of 15.6 yards gained for every time he touches the ball. All of this in just one half of play.

If that gets extrapolated out to the same 140 touches that Thomas had on offense last year, he is on pace for 2,200 yards again. However, since he is now a sophomore, he should be able to take on more touches in both the offense and on special teams.

His best comparison is to a hybrid talent of a DeSean Jackson and Darren Sproles mold. He can take the ball into the end zone any time he touches the ball and as long as the Ducks continue to feed him, he will end up as the best all-around prospect since Antwaan Randle-El was at Indiana.

Thomas' ability to create touchdowns should allow Oregon to perform like a top-five team in college football should. The only issue is if Oregon continues to beat teams by the ridiculous amount they led Arkansas State by, he won't have the ability to get the touches he needs.

So in order for him to compete for the Heisman trophy, he will have to maintain his pace and play full games. In the end, if Oregon winds up going undefeated and Thomas gets to 2,500 all-purpose yards and 20 total touchdowns, Thomas will be a Heisman favorite.

Unfortunately, team performance has too much bearing on how the Heisman is selected. However, should Oregon win the Pac-12, it's more than likely we would all see Thomas in New York for the Heisman ceremony.


Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist and Trends and Traffic Writer for Bleacher Report. As a Featured Columnist, he covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL draft website and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.