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Stunning: Oregon’s Darron Thomas to pursue NFL dreams

Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio - Wisconsin v Oregon Getty Images

Wow. That’s about all you can say.

I can’t imagine too many people felt that when quarterback Darron Thomas led Oregon to a 45-38 win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl that it would be the last game the junior would play for the Ducks. However, according to Oregon’s SID Andy McNamara, Thomas has indeed decided to pass up another year with UO and try his luck in the 2012 draft.

Thomas will join Ducks running back LaMichael James in the draft, but this move is far, far more unexpected than the one James made just a week ago.

“I came to this decision on behalf of myself and my family,” Thomas said. “I have a dream of playing in the NFL and I’m going to pursue those dreams.

“I would like to thank everyone in Oregon for all their support and I would thank the coaches for all their help, especially Coach (Chip) Kelly.” Thomas added. “I love my teammates and wish them the best of luck, and am confident they will continue the winning tradition that has been established. Last but not least, I thank all the Oregon fans for their help and support.”

Thomas said back in December that he would return for another year with Oregon, but as we’ve learned again, those words can only be taken so far.

Below is a statement from head coach Chip Kelly.

“As in all cases, we educate our players with the information we feel will be beneficial to them throughout the process but ultimately, the decision is left up to the players. I will always support Darron in his decision and want to thank him for everything he has done for this program. He obviously has played a major role in elevating Oregon football to new heights and I wish him well in the future.”

Thomas finished the 2011 season with over 2,700 yards passing, 33 passing touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He finishes with 5,910 yards passing for his career with 66 touchdowns.

The controls for Oregon’s offense now rests in the hands of redshirt freshman Bryan Bennett, who saw some significant playing time when he was asked to fill in for Thomas during the Arizona State and Washington State games this season.

The move to replace Thomas with Bennett during the half of the Ducks’ game against Wazzu caused some to wonder if the Ducks were going through the ol’ quarterback controversy routine, something Kelly and Co. adamantly denied.

But now the Ducks have lost their star running back and quarterback to the NFL. It’s too early to tell if that will affect Oregon’s chances at another Pac-12 title — USC is now apparently a Top 5 favorite again – but it does make the conference race a bit more interesting.

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36 Responses to “Stunning: Oregon’s Darron Thomas to pursue NFL dreams”
  1. lonewolf330 says: Jan 14, 2012 8:58 PM

    he’s got wide receiver written all over him

  2. amaya1610 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:01 PM

    U think the succes of spread QB’s like Tebow & Newton affected his decision?

  3. sf987 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:05 PM

    WOW. Maybe he saw all the good qbs staying. Was he as good a qb as d Dixon? If not I see wr too

  4. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: Jan 14, 2012 9:05 PM

    Wow is right. Good luck young man and I wish you nothing but success in the future.
    Thank you for an excellent year as an opponent.

  5. Lou Pickney says: Jan 14, 2012 9:05 PM

    Unless he signs with an agent right away, Thomas has until Wednesday to change his mind…

  6. escoboltsfan says: Jan 14, 2012 9:13 PM

    Wow best of luck, but teams will just call him an athlete.

  7. centexhorn says: Jan 14, 2012 9:15 PM

    I gotta say, seeing how well he played in the Rose Bowl surprised me. He looked like a genuine quarterback, making very good throws.

    I think the “He’ll be an excellent wide receiver” comments are racist. He’s a quarterback, just like any white guy.

  8. pudgalvin says: Jan 14, 2012 9:22 PM

    Well, he can probably run faster than the white guy.

  9. mrslay1 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:22 PM

    You can take Oregon out of the top 15 now. They were the team to beat so.cal next year. Now they will have a cakewalk to the big game. Of coarse they will lose to the SEC:-)

  10. ogre2010 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:28 PM

    There is Tim Tebow’s back up in Denver

  11. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: Jan 14, 2012 9:54 PM

    C’Mon can’t we talk sport without bringing in race or politics in. Aren’t you listening to what they’re saying about Tebow? He’s only a good NFL fullback. How about Matt Ryan? I believe he’s a white guy too. You know what, now that you’ve brought it up, Timmy Chang set all kinds of records and he’s not an NFL qb, maybe because he’s Asian?
    Now I hope, like I said in earlier post, that Thomas succeed whether it as quarterbacks or any other positions. If those that are close to him truly love and care for his future, then they should advice him to exploit all his options.

  12. florida727 says: Jan 14, 2012 10:32 PM

    “As in all cases, we educate our players with the information we feel will be beneficial to them throughout the process but ultimately, the decision is left up to the players. I will always support Darron in his decision…”

    TRANSLATION: You’re making a mistake kid, you aren’t even going to get drafted. Good luck going the free agent route. Hope someone takes a chance on you. Forget about that QB thing by the way.

  13. webfootdoug58 says: Jan 14, 2012 11:12 PM

    This hurts.

  14. duckfan2400 says: Jan 14, 2012 11:50 PM

    Why did that retard say it was racist to say he will be a receiver? He might be.

  15. trojan33sc says: Jan 15, 2012 12:16 AM

    I can’t believe that he submitted a draft evaluation from the league that encouraged him to leave early. A final year of college ball would have done him good. I’m a Trojan but the more competitive the conference the better the conference games. Wonder what happened to his prior committment? Oh well, good luck….

  16. imaduffer says: Jan 15, 2012 12:31 AM

    And the owner of the Ducks, just do it, said “shit.”

  17. crazyfootballfun says: Jan 15, 2012 12:33 AM

    I love DT, but think this is a huge mistake. For all you naysayers, the Ducks are still going to be tough next year. DT came out of nowhere to lead us to the championship game last year. We have Bryan Bennett and another solid kid, Marcus Mariotta behind him ( or ahead, if rumors are true about how good he is). DT…we thank you for all you did for the ducks and wish you luck, and lots of us. Maybe you can surprise everyone in the NFL the same way you surprised the Pac 10/12 in your first 2 years.

  18. hutchtl says: Jan 15, 2012 1:47 AM

    Mistake, Mistake, Mistake…… Darren is good but not yet good enough for the NFL. He needs to give it one more year and try. Not only is hurting Oregon but he is hurting himself.

  19. pdcooper08 says: Jan 15, 2012 2:52 AM

    The Ducks will be fine, they will adjust and reload and compete for the conference. DT can and will play QB at the next level. I thought that was a great comment regarding being Tebows back up, as he will need one. Who ever wins the Pac -12 next will play in the big dance. I can’t wait to see the championship game with Arkansas next year and see what the SEC is all about. Your conference has been dominate of late, but the Pac -12’s best can hang with you.

  20. hillzmickelzon says: Jan 15, 2012 3:11 AM

    Wr?? What i cant believe you so called football fans can say that, why stay in school and have chip mess with your head & your money by bringin bennett in when no (other) qb with those stats would ever be forced too sit or get pulled when you throw for 250 in a half? Have you guys noticed that the ducks became unbeatable with thomas starting? I mean who throws for 3400 yrd and 33 tds 7 ints? Wait your gonna tell me ryan tannehill is a better qb than thomas right? Im laughin at that one do any of you guys watch the pac 12? This guy outplayed LUCK on the same field two years in a row AND BEAT HIM.. Check ya stats go WR that!!!

  21. lanzurrah says: Jan 15, 2012 3:59 AM

    @mrslay1

    Oregon will still be a top ten team…they’ve been recruiting well the past couple of years. DeAnthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner are extremely talented fill-ins for James. Darron Thomas was benched at one point this year in favor of Bryan Bennett who ran the offense just as well as Thomas.

    As for Southern Cal and the SEC…they’re 17-10-1 all-time against the SEC…with the most recent games being a 23-0 drubbing of #6 Auburn @ Auburn, a 70-17 win against Arkansas in LA, and a 50-14 win @ Arkansas the following year. These were Pete Carroll’s teams, but nonetheless…historically the PAC-12 gives USC bigger fits than the SEC.

    Try again?

  22. tg1896 says: Jan 15, 2012 8:18 AM

    Lanzurrah – so you cherry pick one team and talk about their record versus a CONFERENCE?

    Try this on for size – SEC vs Pac 10 (Pac-12) football, all-time, head-to-head record (through the 2010 season; excluding Colorado and Utah) – SEC leads the Pac-10 63-40-5 (.606).

    Anything else?

  23. uscatjerseyshore says: Jan 15, 2012 8:23 AM

    Not quite sure what the author (Kercheval) means in saying that “USC is now apparently a top 5 again” simply because Darron Thomas elected to leave the Ducks. Thomas’ departure has no bearing on USC being identified in the top 5. However it does impact Oregon’s similar ranking.

    Ultimately the games need to be played so rankings (including USC being identified in the top 5) at this juncture are problematic. What is known the SEC semi-pro league is going to be tough. So long as the SEC continues to attract more than half of the five star athletes coming out of high school as they have for the past several years that status won’t change.

  24. canetic says: Jan 15, 2012 8:37 AM

    No one can see the writing on the wall? He probably did something that made him ineligible for his senior year anyway so he had to move on.

  25. str8cashomie2 says: Jan 15, 2012 10:08 AM

    are you KIDDING me??? Has WR written all over him? Do you watch football? This guys in no way could play WR in the NFL

  26. Ben Kercheval says: Jan 15, 2012 11:13 AM

    “Not quite sure what the author (Kercheval) means in saying that “USC is now apparently a top 5 again” simply because Darron Thomas elected to leave the Ducks. Thomas’ departure has no bearing on USC being identified in the top 5. However it does impact Oregon’s similar ranking.”

    I didn’t say USC is a top 5 favorite again because Thomas left. That was a link to John’s predictions about the Trojans for next season, which came before Thomas’ announcement.

  27. lanzurrah says: Jan 15, 2012 11:26 AM

    @tg1896

    Reading comprehension must not be your strong suite…the comment I was responding to assumed USC would have a “cakewalk” to the title game because of Oregon losing their QB, in which USC would lose to another SEC team.

    I was pointing out how unlike other high profile PAC-12, Big Ten, VII, etc teams….USC doesn’t struggle against SEC teams, be it recently or historically. They’ve in fact, beat the living hell out of them when SEC teams agreed to play them the past decade.

  28. burntorangehorn says: Jan 15, 2012 11:31 AM

    Thomas isn’t quite the quarterback Dennis Dixon was in college, and I’m not sure he’ll be quite the quarterback Dennis Dixon is in the NFL. Oregon just runs a very nice offense for guys with that skill set. Look for Bryan Bennett to have a very good career there.

  29. trojan33sc says: Jan 15, 2012 1:37 PM

    There seems to be a total lack of communication between DT’s representatives and realistic expectations as to his draft status. Someone has mislead the kid, he NEEDS that last year of college experience. Hate to seem him throw his career away.

  30. seanmmartin says: Jan 15, 2012 3:18 PM

    My friend and I were driving back from the Pats game when we heard this announcement on the radio. We both started laughing.

    He will not make it as a QB. He isn’t fast enough, honestly, to play WR in the NFL. I mean, I don’t even think he has enough athleticism to make the transition ala Brad Smith, Josh Cribbs, or Randle El. Most guys don’t even make a big impact (Armanti Edwards.) Hope he’s tough enough to play special teams. Someone will keep him if he’s a smart football guy.

  31. tailgatersanimal says: Jan 15, 2012 4:28 PM

    “But now the Ducks have lost their star running back and quarterback to the NFL. It’s too early to tell if that will affect Oregon’s chances at another Pac-12 title — USC is now apparently a Top 5 favorite again – but it does make the conference race a bit more interesting.”

    It is not too early to say that the Ducks will not be the same team in 2012 that they were 2010-2011. Duh.

  32. Maximus Decimus Meridius says: Jan 15, 2012 4:45 PM

    UNDRAFTED….

    Welcome to the AFL

  33. Ben Kercheval says: Jan 15, 2012 4:57 PM

    “It is not too early to say that the Ducks will not be the same team in 2012 that they were 2010-2011. Duh.”

    Not sure “different team = no Pac-12 title” applies when Ducks have proven it doesn’t in last 3 years.

  34. mwcarolina says: Jan 15, 2012 8:21 PM

    honestly, i dont know what to make of Thomas. i have to read more scouting reports on him, i think he does have potential to be a decent QB, even as a starter. the question is, does a team like Washington reach in round one or round two to get him!!!?? i personally dont see him going in round one, but i could see him fall to round 2 and going to Washington who has a clear QB need.

  35. th56 says: Jan 15, 2012 10:40 PM

    As the Oregonian’s Joe Cazano points out, he is leaving because there is no upside in staying. He won’t improve his draft status no matter what he does. He can only hurt his chances, there’s no guarantee he will even start next year. I think Bennet has already outplayed him and he can probably see the writing on the wall. Even if he doesn’t make an Nfl team, he can probably play in the CFL. He is very close to graduating, so he’ll get his degree. he wants to play pro ball and thinks this is his best shot, so good for him. As for the Ducks, they’ll be fine. In fact I think this Bennett kid will prove to be an upgrade.

  36. davidjcu says: Jan 16, 2012 1:28 PM

    I guess he figured he would go higher this year with Luck and Griffin as the main guys vs next year when he would be up against Barkley, Landry Jones, Tyler Wilson, Aaron Murra, and Geno Smith.

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