It’s hard to compare De’Anthony Thomas of the Oregon Ducks to anyone, because he’s putting up incredible numbers, three games into his sophomore season, leading both the Pac-12 and the NCAA in touchdowns.
If last year wasn’t enough, when Thomas set a new Oregon record for number of touchdowns by a true freshman (18), scoring two of them as a return man, while posting 1200 yards on 101 plays from scrimmage, averaging 11.9 per play, this year seems to b on a whole other level.
The most incredible number regarding Thomas are his averages, and what happens every time he touches the ball. He has scored 7 touchdowns this season on only 24 touches. He’s run the ball for 228 yards on only 13 carries, averaging 17.5 yards per carry, by far more than anyone in the nation, only he isn’t ranked because he hasn’t had enough touches. The NCAA leader is Damien Williams of Oklahoma with 12.9.
Thomas is also electryifying as a reciever, catching 11 passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns. In total, that gives us 382 yards on just 24 touches, 15.9 average. It’s hard to think of someone as explosive both as a reciever and a rusher since Reggie Bush on his Junior year with USC, winning the later vacated Heisman trophy.
In 2005, Bush led the nation in yards from scrimmage with 2218, averaging 9.4 yards per touch. He ran for 1740 yards on 200 carries, averaging a nation-best 8.7 yards per carry, scoring 16 touchdowns. He caught two more touchdown passes, ending up with 18 touchdowns on 237 plays. Not bad. But if Bush is the best season we’ve had in quite some time (2005) when it comes to efficiency and explosiveness every time he touches the ball, Thomas is on course to beat that season and impression.
Oregon are careful in how they use him, and so far haven’t really needed him during the third and fourth quarters. Games have been quite easy thus far. But the Pac-12 season begins this Saturday for them, with Arizona, who play a similar up-tempo offense, just with less talent, coming to Eugene.
College Football is usually about workhorse running backs, who can carry the ball 25-30 times a game, like Kevin Smith did for Central Florida in 2007, producing 2567 yards of rushing on 450 carries, finishing with a total of 2809 yards from scrimmage. Talented, but not that special, which De’Anthony Thomas is. It’s still way too early to say how it translates when the tougher competition comes along or way into the future when it’s about being a pro, but at the moment, he’s the best playmaker and most exciting thing to watch in college football.