Mariota Staying, But DAT Leaving for Draft
This comes one month after redshirt sophomore Marcus Mariota announced he’d return to Eugene next season, but that obviously wasn’t enough to keep one of the most explosive players in college football from leaving.
"I am officially withdrawing from the University of Oregon to pursue a professional career in the NFL," Thomas said in a statement. "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."
Throughout his three-year career, Thomas lined up at running back, wide receiver and special teams as a returner. He was always a threat to take a play to the house no matter where he was on the field, scoring 46 touchdowns on 445 total touches—an incredible 9.7-1 touch-per-touchdown ratio.
Although he battled an ankle injury throughout the entire 2013 season, Thomas still compiled 1,353 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns in barely over eight games played. Those numbers aren’t up to his standard, but would look nice with just about any other player in the NCAA.
At 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, it’s going to be difficult for Thomas to make the transition from college to the NFL. It’s pretty clear he won’t be an every down back—he never was with Oregon—but I’m sure he’ll have the opportunity to be a returner and have a role on third downs at the next level.
If I were a betting man (and I am), I would imagine that Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly will be giving him a call or two in the next few months.
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