2012 the year of the Black Mamba
De’Anthony Thomas had one of the most outstanding years of any true freshman in the country last year.
Heading into the upcoming season, expect the sophomore to be one of the top candidates for the Heisman Trophy when it’s all said and done.
5) Early-season Favorite
It can certainly be argued that pre-season polls don’t hold much meaning, but there’s no denying, that De’Anthony Thomas has earned the right to be an early favorite for the 2012 Hesiman Trophy.
The Heisman Pundit has released their list of the top 18 candidates, and following his standout freshman year, Thomas has earned himself a spot as an early favorite to compete for the award this season.
4) No LaMichael James
LaMichael James is one of the greatest running backs in University of Oregon history, but while his presence will surely be missed by fans and teammates alike, it also opens up a huge window of opportunity for Thomas to establish an even greater role in the Ducks’ offense.
Kenjon Barner will be the starting back this fall, but with the Ducks’ history of dual-back systems, expect Thomas to be a go-to guy in virtually any situation.
Thomas has the speed to compete in a foot race with almost any other player in the country.
If you didn’t see his Rose Bowl performance last season (catch it at the bottom of this article), two runs with two touchdowns and 155 yards was a showcase of pure speed as he outran every defender on the other side of the field.
Speed, agility and quickness are all weapons, but combine that with his vision and ability to create something out of a broken play and you’ve got one of the most dangerous players in the entire country.
2) All-Purpose Play
While Thomas is a running back on most depth charts, he’s so much more than that in Oregon’s offensive system.
The only player in the country last season with 500 yards rushing, receiving and as a kick returner, Thomas led all freshmen in scoring with 18 total touchdowns and set an Oregon first-year record with 2,235 all-purpose yards.
A danger to score in almost any capacity, Thomas’ versatility should catch the eyes of the Heisman voters by the end of the 2012 season.
1) Chip Kelly
There’s no denying that Thomas is a special kind of talent, and that he’d likely be a top-quality player in most college football systems. At Oregon, however, he could prove to be the best player in the country by the time his college career comes to an end.
Head coach Chip Kelly has instituted a system that relies on deception, efficiency and speed to make plays.
With Kelly in control moving forward, Thomas has been given the opportunity to thrive in one of the most prolific offenses college football has to offer.
Rose Bowl Highlights of De’Anthony Thomas