Darron Thomas joined the Oregon Ducks in 2008 as a four-star quarterback out of Aldhine High School. Many Duck fans have compared the 6'3", 205 pound sophomore to the beloved Dennis Dixon, who was a Heisman Trophy favorite in 2007 before a season-ending injury.
So, if this is the case, why are Duck fans and so-called analysts doubting the chances of the Ducks reaching the Rose Bowl again without Jeremiah Masoli?
Yes, Masoli knew the offense like it was the back of his hand, and his uncanny ability to create something out of nothing was a cornerstone of the Duck's 2009 season, but who's to say that the Ducks can't succeed with a guy who is a prototypical quarterback?
Darron first saw action as a true freshman against Boise State when Jeremiah Masoli took a late hit early in the game. Thomas faced a 25-point deficit when he finally made his debut in the fourth quarter. Thomas performed admirably and threw three touchdown passes but came just short of a come-from-behind victory over Boise.
Darron was almost a lock to succeed Masoli as quarterback after Masoli graduated this season, but as we all know, Thomas will be called upon to lead the Ducks to victory a year early.
Now this is not to say that Thomas is not going to be challenged for the starting job this offseason. Quarterback Nate Costa is very knowledgeable of the read-option, and he also has game experience (Costa led Oregon to a victory over UCLA this season).
However, my hunch tells me that we will see No. 1 Darron Thomas at quarterback in the opening game against New Mexico come September. Thomas is faster than Masoli, which gives Oregon an improved run threat at quarterback, and Thomas is almost five inches taller than Masoli, which will allow him to see over the line much better to get the ball down field.
And let's face it, while Masoli was explosive and always able to open up a big play, he also was susceptible to throw an interception, hold the ball like a loaf of bread, or just make a boneheaded decision.
The Oregon Ducks will be better in 2010 than they were in 2009. With Darron Thomas at quarterback, the Ducks will have a better offense and will not only get Rose Bowl berth but also challenge for a National Title.
Darron Thomas has all the talent in the world, and Duck fans will soon forget Jeremiah Masoli as the 2010 season goes on.