National Signing Day 2011: The Oregon Ducks Try To Trump USC

Tyler Robinson@trob2416Contributor IIFebruary 2, 2011

For years USC had been the destination for the top Pac 10/12 recruits, but it looks as if Oregon may now be the new spot.

USC has the #4 recruiting class according to ESPN, but Oregon may have lured away their top prospect.

The nation's top athlete De'Anthony "Black Mamba" Thomas, had long been verbally committed to play in his backyard at USC, but it now sounds like Thomas has made other plans. ESPN's Shelley Smith reported that nothing was official, but that Thomas wanted to play at Oregon. has Thomas listed as the number 1 athlete in the nation, and is the number 5 recruit overall. Many experts believe that Thomas will eventually end up playing defensive back. Thomas was the most outstanding defensive player in the Army All American Bowl; Thomas had a game high 8 tackles and also picked off a pass in the high school showcase game.

De'Anthony Thomas high school highlights:

With 4.4 40 speed, Black Mamba has the ability to play on either side of the ball. Thomas could make major contributions in special teams, playing the slot, or coming out of the back field. He's a threat to hit a homerun every time he touches the ball.

Thomas is set to make his decision at 6pm PST.

If Oregon can sign Thomas, then they will have the top two athletes in the nation coming to play for their program. 

The nation's #2 athlete (according to Rivals) Colt Lyerla, committed to Oregon during the Army All American Bowl, and has just signed. Like Thomas, Lyerla can play anywhere. The athlete out of Hillsboro is 6'5'' 225 pounds, with 4.55 40 speed; he starred as a running back in high school.

Most experts have Lyerla playing linebacker, but no matter where he plays he's going to dominate. Lyerla is so athletic that he could probably play safety or receiver, and he's so big that he could play defensive end, linebacker, or tight end. 

Lyerla's high school highlights:

He's a "one of a kind" athlete. Rivals compares Lyerla's athleticism to NFL greats Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers.

Oregon is signing players as I write this, so here's the list of the rest of Oregon's top commitments (courtesy of Rivals).

Oregon made big steps in the program's history today, and the Ducks' future looks very bright. 

See where all Top 100 recruits are headed.