- Few were as statistically productive, and there's been no more electrifying player in recent Oregon football history than De'Anthony Thomas. From his two touchdowns on two rushes in the 2012 Rose Bowl to the tone-setting kickoff return in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl, Thomas had a knack for big moments on the biggest stages. His next big stage will be an NFL stadium, as Thomas has decided to make himself available for this year's professional draft as a junior. "I am officially withdrawing from the University of Oregon to pursue a professional career in the NFL," Thomas said in a prepared statement Sunday. "I want to express my deepest appreciation and thanks to the University and all of my teammates, coaches and fans. I look forward to staying connected to the University and visiting the sidelines as often as possible."
Thomas leaves Oregon in the conversation as the best all-purpose player in school history. His 5,345 career yards trail only all-time greats LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, with whom Thomas teamed in the Ducks' most recent Pac-12 championship season of 2011. Thomas holds Oregon records for kickoff return yards (1,885) and punt return average (17.1), and he's fourth in career scoring (278 points). Also a standout member of the UO track and field team, Thomas anchored the 4x100-meter relay that advanced to the 2012 NCAA Championships and ran the sixth-fastest time in school history, 39.89 seconds.
From the time he surprised hometown fans in his native Los Angeles by spurning USC for Oregon, Thomas has been one of the Ducks' most beloved players. With his bright smile and fast feet, the kid known as "DAT" was a quick fan favorite. "De'Anthony has been a spectacular talent in college football and has been a part of some of the most memorable plays in the history of the University of Oregon," UO coach Mark Helfrich said. "We wish him success going forward with his career." - Oregon football