I have often wondered how big-time schools like USC can get so many five-star recruits, and limit them under their star potential. For the most part, players earn their stars for a reason, but it is up to the coaches to make them realize that talent. I would like to highlight some ups and downs of past Oregon five star recruits. I am using the rankings by scout.com, because it is my opinion that they have the most accurate rankings for their five stars.
With this in mind, I think Thomas Tyner will live up to his hype and star rating based on the history of Oregon’s five-star recruits. I am going to set the categories as: lived up to the hype, couldn’t get it together, and yet to be determined. There are many five star recruits to pool from, but I am limiting it to some of the more well known recruits.
Lived up to the hype –
Haloti Ngata – At 6’4″ , 320+ pounds, Ngata was a force to be reckoned with as a defensive lineman. He dominated opposing lines while at Oregon, which led most teams to double team him every chance they got. Ngata left Oregon one year early to be drafted by the Baltimore Ravens 12th overall in the 2006 NFL Draft. Since making his debut in the league, he has racked up 362 total tackles, 22 sacks, 3 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, and 5 fumble recoveries. As a DT, those are crazy numbers. His awards are many; he was a 2005 consensus all-American, 1st team all Pac-10, and Morris Trophy winner. He has also been selected 5 times to the NFL all pro team, and 4-time Pro Bowl selection.
Jonathan Stewart – Stewart is the all-time rushing record holder for the state of Washington with 7,755 total yards and 105 touchdowns…wow! When he first got to Oregon, he did not get very many carries, but as his touches increased, so did his yardage. Stewart capped off his career at Oregon with a 1,722 yard season, and 11 touchdowns. No matter what the total stats say, Stewart is one of Oregon’s all-time best rushers.
After foregoing his senior season, Stewart was drafted 13th overall by the Carolina Panthers in the 2008 NFL Draft. While in Carolina, Stewart has rushed for 3,836 yards and 27 touchdowns, he has also put up 859 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns. His stats would be much better if he did not have to split carries with DeAngelo Williams.
Couldn’t get it together -
Cameron Colvin – In 2004 Colvin was rated the #2 wide receiver coming out of high school. He won multiple awards in high school and was so high profile he announced his commitment on ESPN — a big deal back then. It wasn’t really Colvin’s fault that he couldn’t get it together. During the first three years of his career at Oregon he was impaired by injuries, keeping him sidelined for most of his career. He did emerge as a pretty good receiver his senior year, but finished his career with just 892 yards and 7 touchdowns. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the 49ers in 2008 but was then released.
Lache Seastrunk - Seastrunk is the epitome of a bust. He never played a snap for Oregon, and his name is only really mentioned in the same sentence as the investigation that has been going on with Oregon for the last two years. I had the opportunity to run in to Seastrunk while he was here in Eugene, and did not get a very good impression of him. He seemed very aloof. That, of course, is just my opinion based on what I witnessed; but it seemed to me that his mouth has also punched his ticket more than once – and not just at Oregon. He said he was going to win the Heisman this coming year. He said he is the fastest running back, the best running back, and has the best work ethic in the nation. He showed just how good his work ethic was by transferring from Oregon after he didn’t even make the 2-deep roster. Overall, he seemed like a player who didn’t belong at Oregon, and didn’t want to be here.
Yet to be determined -
DeAnthony Thomas - The only reason Thomas is in this category is because he hasn’t finished his collegiate career yet. If he were to quit right now, I would move him up to “lived up to the hype.” Thomas has been spectacular for the Ducks since his first snap. Every time he touches the ball you hold your breath, waiting for a crazy play that only he can produce. In just two seasons, Thomas has already amassed 3,992 yards and 36 touchdowns — extremely productive stats. Plus, he has to play for at least one more year before considering jumping into the NFL draft.
Arik Armstead - At 6’8″ and 297 pounds, Armstead is a huge body for offensive linemen to deal with. Add great athleticism to that and you have the makings for a great player. While watching Armstead play, he definitely has the potential, but it seems like he needs to get more of that killer instinct. He doesn’t ever seem angry which is something that most great defensive players show a lot of. Keep in mind he was rated five stars at the offensive guard position, so switching to defense will take some getting use to. Armstead is more than capable of living up to the hype if he stays humble and keeps working.
After looking at all of these players and what they need to do to live up to the hype, one of the biggest contributors seems to be humbleness. Being open to having the staff coach you and not just do your own thing because it worked in high school. Also, a good work ethic is key to making sure you deserve your star rating. The last thing is staying healthy, which is not controlled by the player most times.
Thomas Tyner seems to have all of these in spades. I have spoken with him multiple times and he is a very humble kid. He has shown that he has the work ethic to take instruction and put it to use. An injury derailed his junior campaign, and then he returned to set the single season state of Oregon rushing record. His character shines though, as he has had zero mishaps off the field. The only person that could hold Tyner back at the collegiate level and keep him from achieving his potential is Thomas himself. All indications say that will not happen with this five star recruit.