Oregon Ducks Football: Why De'Anthony Thomas Should Be Favorite for Heisman

Ryan DavenportContributor ISeptember 8, 2012

EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 1:  De'Anthony Thomas #6 of the Oregon Ducks rushes against the Arkansas State Red Wolves on September 1, 2012 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won the game 57-34.  (Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images)
Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images

He doesn't get many opportunities with the football, but De'Anthony Thomas makes them count.

Last Saturday, in Oregon's season opener against Arkansas State, Thomas only touched the ball eight times and still recorded 125 yards and three touchdowns.

It's performances like Thomas' last weekend that make Heisman Trophy winners, and though he's only a sophomore, Thomas already has a few of them to his name.

In the 2012 Rose Bowl, Thomas put on a show, as he rushed for 155 yards and scored on his only two carries of the game, setting two Rose Bowl records in the process. If that wasn't impressive enough, Thomas also hauled in four passes for 34 yards, and racked up 125 yards on kick returns, giving him a total of 314 yards on the evening.

Simply put, there aren't any college football players like Thomas, who is capable of being a difference maker as a return specialist, running back and receiver, as evidenced by the fact that he was the only player in the nation to record at least 400 yards in each category.

And he's only a sophomore.

With LaMichael James gone, Thomas will get more opportunities, especially in close games, because he's by far the team's most efficient option on the ground. 

Though, according to The Oregonian, Thomas is second on the Ducks' depth chart at running back behind Kenjon Barner, in the team's season opener, he ran for just two less yards than Barner, despite getting only three carries compared to Barner's nine.

Barner will get touches, but considering the senior back's career-high is under 1000 yards, Thomas is without a doubt the guy who will get the ball when the Ducks need a big gain.

That's because, as history has shown, those big gains are Thomas' specialty.

Now, with No. 4 Oregon set to play a schedule that, despite including top-25 teams USC and Stanford, doesn't feature many perennial powerhouses, Thomas will get the opportunity to show voters why he should be the first-ever Duck to win the Heisman Trophy.

If his freshman year was any indication, by season's end, Thomas will be running, receiving and retuning his way to the 2012 Heisman Trophy.