Shocking news coming out this afternoon. Darron Thomas, set to enter his senior year already one of the most successful quarterbacks in Oregon history, will forgo his senior year and enter the NFL draft.
From the University of Oregon, here is Darron's statement:
"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."
As those of you around here know, I was one of the biggest defenders of Thomas. I think there are few QBs in the country that can run Oregon's offense as effectively as Thomas. Yeah, he has some work to do mechanically, but Thomas is great under pressure, is a spectacular decision-maker, and led Oregon to the best two-year stretch in school history. He also leaves Oregon as the all-time leader in touchdown passes, despite only starting for two season.
With Thomas at the helm, Oregon was a top 5 team heading into next season. Without him, we get to see what Bryan Bennett or Marcus Mariotta will do. Both are supremely talented athletes, and it will be exciting to see what they can do. But losing both LaMichael James and Darron Thomas to the draft is a big blow for the team. These two were the leaders of the Oregon offense, and took the team to levels we have never seen.
But beyond the impact on Oregon football, this seems like a bizarre decision for Thomas. He had not been spoken very highly of as a pro prospect, and has some obvious footwork and mechanical problems that will be tough to overcome at the next level.
But despite those questions, I think Chip Kelly says it best.:
"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," Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly said. "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."
I wish nothing but the best for Darron moving forward, and hope this decision works out for him. Thank for for the memories Darron, and good luck.