Oregon all-purpose dynamo De’Anthony Thomas joined the chorus of recent declarations for the draft on Sunday by announcing his decision to skip his senior year and head to the NFL.
“I am officially withdrawing from the University of Oregon to pursue a professional career in the NFL,” Thomas said in a prepared statement Sunday. “I want to express my deepest appreciation and thanks to the University and all of my teammates, coaches and fans. I look forward to staying connected to the University and visiting the sidelines as often as possible.”
Thomas leaves Oregon as perhaps the best all-purpose player in school history. His 5,345 career yards in just three years is third all-time for the Ducks. Thomas holds Oregon records for kickoff return yards (1,885) and punt return average (17.1), and he’s fourth in career scoring (278 points). This past season, he missed three games but still rushed for 594 yards and eight touchdowns.
He and cornerback Terrance Mitchell are one of two Duck juniors to declare for the draft so far.
Will Oregon miss Thomas that much? Probably not. While he was a very talented player, he displayed poor judgement in his words to the media at times. And while he made a ton of spectacular plays, his failure to make a very easy block on a defender on a Marcus Mariota run against Stanford in 2012 might’ve cost the Ducks a spot in the BCS title game.
The question now is, what position will Thomas play in the NFL? He’s very slight and not the kind of player who can take a pounding. His best bet for success is probably to serve as a wide receiver/return man and maybe carry the ball 3-5 times per game. As is often the case, his success will likely depend on where he ends up and how the team decides to use him.
One of the more underrated storylines heading into Week 6 continued its tack of uncertainty Tuesday.
During the first quarter of Florida State’s win over Wake Forest this past Saturday, Dalvin Cook tweaked his hamstring and didn’t return to the contest. The sophomore running back was initially labeled as day-to-day for this weekend’s game against Miami, and that hasn’t changed as Jimbo Fisher reaffirmed that Cook’s status for the in-state rivalry game remains up in the air.
“We’ll keep waiting,” the head coach said, adding that, because of Cook’s knowledge of the offense, he could sit out of practice the entire week and still take the field against the Hurricanes.
“He knows what to do, you can keep him healthy and do that there’s no doubt about that,” Fisher said.
Cook is far and away FSU’s leading rusher, with his 142.5 yards per game good for eight in the country and his six rushing touchdowns tied for 20th. The Seminoles’ No. 2 rusher, Mario Pender, is still dealing with the aftereffects of a collapsed lung that will sideline him for at least another week.
Oklahoma State’s defense has taken what will likely prove to be a very significant and impactful blow.
On Twitter as well as Instagram late Tuesday night, Ryan Simmons announced that he “recently tore my MCL & PCL which will require surgery.” As a result, Simmons, who was injured in the Week 5 win over Kansas State, will miss the remainder of the 2015 season, even as OSU has yet to officially confirm the linebacker’s status moving forward.
Because Simmons is a senior, and this is his final season of eligibility, the end of his 2015 season would also mean the end of his collegiate career.
Simmons has started the last 31 games for the Cowboys. He was second on the team in tackles last season, and his 26 career tackles for loss makes him OSU’s active leader in that category as well.
On his official bio, it’s written that Simmons is “[o]ne of the unquestioned leaders of the team, both on and off the field.”