The all things sports website SportingNews.com released its version of the Top 25 players in Division 1 NCAAF earlier today – two of whom are Oregon Ducks. Coming in at No. 22 on their list is junior running back De’Anthony Thomas, described by SportingNews.com as, “Pure speed and big-play ability. But can his small frame sustain 20-25 carries a game as a feature back without becoming injured?” Being the diehard Ducks fan I am, and blatantly biased, listing Thomas here on the list seemed low. Standing at 5′ 9″ with a lean 173-lb frame, it is clear the Los Angeles native won’t be the biggest man on the field but probably the hardest to catch.
Though the official starting roster has yet to be released, it is a safe assumption Thomas will be the starting running back. That said, the Ducks are not a team to use the same 11 offensive starters throughout the game. Things change, and for Oregon they change quickly. Sophomore Byron Marshall (5′ 10″, 195) will also earn a significant amount of carries in 2013, allowing Thomas’s “small frame” to get some rest.
The Ducks crack SportingNews.com’s top 15 players at No. 14 with quarterback Marcus Mariota. The website states the redshirt sophomore had a “massive freshman season was overshadowed by—who else?— Johnny Manziel. Former Ducks coach Chip Kelly took Mariota instead of Manziel two years ago, and Manziel wound up at Texas A&M.” Again, I will show my biased colors of green and yellow here in claiming Oregon made the right choice. I understand Manziel took home the Heisman trophy last year, but I’ll take Mariota’s victory in the Fiesta Bowl over a Manziel victory in the Cotton Bowl any day.
Call us “overshadowed”, claim we’re “small”, but at the end of the day rankings are only numbers – just like the big ones we put up on the scoreboard.
Photo Courtesy of Kevin Cline Photography