I was watching C.J. Spiller highlights the other day and thought back to first seeing him play as a freshman in 2006. In Spiller’s first college action (an overtime loss against Boston College), I remember the announcer asserting that C.J. would be a first-round draft pick whenever he chose to go pro. Fast-forward seven years (Spiller was drafted 9th overall by the Bills in 2010), and I believe the Ducks have a Spiller-type player on their hands in freshman Thomas Tyner.
Like Spiller, Tyner’s prodigious talent is easy to see. Both athletes separate themselves from others (figuratively and literally) with their elite speed and athletic ability, which has propelled them to success on the track as well. Spiller ran a PR of 10.22 seconds in the 100m his senior year at Clemson, while Tyner ran a 10.35 in his sophomore year at Aloha (Ore.) High School. In comparison, De’Anthony runs in the high 10.4’s, B.J. Kelley runs 10.7’s and Usain Bolt runs a 9.58.
Though we haven’t seen Tyner since he was re-writing the Oregon high school record books last season, I believe he will be an immediate success in college, as was Spiller. Tyner will have to compete with Byron Marshall for carries this season, but Spiller wasn’t the starter his freshman year either, as he had to play behind upperclassmen James Davis. In the end, Spiller finished 6th in the Heisman voting his senior season, and it would certainly be welcome if Tyner decided to follow in Spiller’s footsteps with his career.
It’ll be awesome to finally see Tyner in a Duck uniform vs. Nicholls State this weekend. Hopefully he’s healthy and the coaches give him the rock more than a few times! Go Ducks!