National Signing Day 2011: The Mamba Takes a Trip, USC Takes a Hike

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National Signing Day 2011: The Mamba Takes a Trip, USC Takes a Hike
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
"Hey, Mamba! Over here!"

Over the weekend, top Los Angeles and USC recruit DeAnthony Thomas visited Oregon, much to the concern of many USC fans.

However, the fans did not find out about it until last night after tweets and posts on Oregon boards.  The trip was very much hush-hush until it was completed.

What I am about to mention is purely my own supposition.  I have no actual proof or statements to back it up,  but here is the situation as I see it.

The fact that the trip was, for the most part, secretive indicates that Thomas did not want to embarrass USC or give a negative impression to any of the other recruits.  Thomas has had a good deal of communication with many of them and has even encouraged some of them to commit to the Trojans.

But I believe that he actually de-committed before taking his trip to Oregon but did not make any announcement in deference to Lane Kiffin and his staff.

By the same token, I believe that the staff has kept his de-commitment under wraps in order to keep the rest of the recruits on board.

If The Mamba were still firmly committed to USC, his trip to Oregon would not have been so secretive.  He would have merely said that he was taking a visit to Oregon but was still committed to USC.

That did not happen, and that leads me to believe that the Ducks have caught a big fish.

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The Mamba is the hands-down successor to LaMichael James as the next star running back at Oregon.  He may even get nominated, like James, for the Heisman Trophy.

If he comes to USC, he would probably play cornerback, which, by the way, is the hottest ticket into the NFL.

So, it’s a matter of being a star running back on a pretty good Pac-12 team, maybe even a championship team, but I doubt it.  So, far Chip Kelly has failed in two successive BCS Bowls.  Adding the Mamba to his backfield doesn’t guarantee Kelly of getting over that hump.

On the other hand, Thomas would be a highly-rated corner back on a sanctioned USC team.  How far the Trojans can go on sanctions with or without Thomas is anyone’s guess.

But Thomas would be a top NFL draft choice with the chance of becoming a lock-down NFL corner whose salary would be off the charts, even with the Collective Bargaining Agreement in place.

But for young kids still in high school, being that star running back and having a crack at winning the Heisman and maybe even a national title is a much closer goal than thinking about playing cornerback in the NFL.

Nevertheless, I can understand what he is going through and why his high school coaches are not forwarding any messages or allowing the USC staff any information. 

It is a confusing time for Thomas as he tries to sort out what is best for him.  He doesn’t need friends, family, teammates or coaches badgering him right now.  He needs to think this through for himself.  And whatever he decides, I wish him the best.

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