De'Anthony Thomas is the type of player that takes advantage of every opportunity he gets. As a sophomore, he might be able to put up big enough numbers to take home the Heisman Trophy.
The only thing holding him back is the fact that he doesn't receive enough touches per game.
The advantage that Thomas has over other non-quarterback Heisman hopefuls is that he is being used as a hybrid WR/RB. This bodes well for Thomas when he goes into the NFL, since some teams are already experimenting with how to use players in a similar dual role (like Percy Harvin of the Minnesota Vikings and Randall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers).
The Oregon Ducks also seem to be trying to figure out the optimal number of touches a guy like Thomas should receive per game.
So far, this unique role has given him a better shot at winning the Heisman Trophy than if he was just a regular wide receiver. Generally, receivers do not garner much Heisman attention, with the last winner being Desmond Howard in 1991.
Thomas has accumulated nine touchdowns and 582 yards, which may not compare to the astronomical numbers some former Heisman Trophy winners have put up. However, doing all that on just 61 touches is very impressive. He averages nearly 10 yards every time he has the ball and scores about 15 percent of the time.
If Oregon increased his touches, just think about how high those numbers could soar.
Thomas is most likely a long shot at winning the Heisman Trophy because of his lack of touches, but his efficiency and unique WR/RB role could push him to the top. He may not even be the best running back or the best receiver on his team, but a sophomore with the talent that he possesses is a unique find.
If Oregon decides to give him the ball more in the second half of the season, look for Thomas to make a late run at the Heisman Trophy.
If Oregon wins the BCS National Championship, Thomas might be a lock to be named the most outstanding player in college football in 2012.