After a shaky period back in October 2012, in which Tyner decommitted from his Oregon verbal pledge, and then quickly recommitted two days later, the terrific running back has appeared to be solidly in the Ducks' camp.
However, until this week's national signing day, fans can't really feel secure in their favorite team's commits. Sometimes strange and horrible things happen on that day. Sometimes strange and wonderful things happen, too.
Oregon fans should want one thing more than anything else on Feb. 6—Thomas Tyner's signature on the Ducks' letter of intent. Tyner is a very special player, the kind that doesn't come along often, and here's why.
There is no substitute for speed. Especially if you are talking about the Oregon Ducks.
Tyner isn't just a 5-star running back, he's also a track star. The 6'0", 200-pound Tyner runs the 40 in 4.38 seconds. And, if there's any question that he just was timed in one good sprint for the scouts, Tyner also holds the Oregon state prep record in the 100-meter dash at 10.35 seconds. He set that record when he was a sophomore.
All that speed translates well on the football field. It's allowed Tyner to also set the Oregon prep single-season rushing record in 2012. And by now you've heard of Tyner's legendary performance in Aloha's game against Lakeridge last fall. Watch some highlights here.
Again, folks, there is no substitute for speed.
I don't much care for hamstring injuries on football players. You? They can nag on and on, and really slow down good players, especially running backs.
Tyner missed six games of the 2011 football season for Aloha High School with an injured hamstring. According to Tyner's father, John, it was determined that the hamstring was "strained" not "torn." It should also be noted that Tyner still finished the 2011 season with 12 touchdowns and 1,200 yards, despite playing only half of the year.
But then Tyner pulled up in the spring of 2012 when he attempted to run his first 100-meter race at the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field in Eugene. It was a terrible thing to see; the young sprinter fell to the track clutching at his hamstring, clearly in major discomfort.
If you were there and saw Tyner rolling around on the track, bet you thought "uh oh."
What you have to like, however, is the way Tyner came back for his senior season of football. It was an amazing, healthy display of a running back at his best. Yes, he set the Oregon prep single-season rushing record, but even better, his hamstring didn't make the news.
Aside from all of his obvious talent, another thing that makes Tyner special for Oregon fans is that he is homegrown. Can you remember the last time an Oregon high school player was rated a 5-star prospect, and the No. 17 player in the nation?
Tyner could have gone to any university in the nation. He had interest from virtually every top football program, and offers from schools you don't want to hear about.
There is something really special about the state's best prep player—maybe ever—staying home and playing for the state's (currently) best college program.
It just feels right.
Just one more thing, Mr. Tyner. Follow up on your tweet:
Can't wait to make my commitment to Oregon official Wednesday!— D4SH (@thomas_tyner) February 2, 2013
Sign the Oregon letter of intent on Feb. 6, and let's play some football.
Kay Jennings is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.