UPDATE: After a whirlwind 48 hours, Thomas Tyner says he's sticking with Oregon. Per Justin Hopkins and Duck Territory:
Breaking story:Thomas Tyner (Thomas_Tyner) won't take any visits. He's a Duck. oregon.247sports.com/Article/Thomas… via @247sports #GoDucks— Justin Hopkins (@JHopkins247) October 18, 2012
@thomas_tyner tells Duckterritory: "Oregon is home, this is where I want to play my college football." Story: bit.ly/Wsjmxp— Justin Hopkins (@JHopkins247) October 18, 2012
Last night I wrote a post on Thomas Tyner and the fickle nature of recruiting. Even though it's now "out of date" the sentiment holds true: recruiting is an unpredictable process and no one is truly bound anywhere until they sign their letter of intent. It's important to remember that regardless of who signs with the Ducks, Oregon football will be just fine. The full article is below:
Imitation is the finest form of flattery, as the old adage goes. On Tuesday, Thomas Tyner decommitted from the Ducks, but his reasons for doing so were truly Chip Kelly-esque. Tyner essentially stated that he wants to gather as much information as possible before coming to his final conclusion, a strategy that Chip has followed so many times when small crises arise at Oregon. It's a decision that the coaching staff surely respects.
And who can blame him? The kid just turned 18 a month ago and is about to make the biggest decision of his life. He committed to the Ducks almost a year ago without taking visits anywhere else. For someone who has probably barely left the state of Oregon in his lifetime, who has opportunities in front for him that very few 18 year-olds ever have, that's a big step.
As Jared pointed out yesterday, Oregon is in no way out of it for Tyner's commitment. In fact, many things still point to the Ducks being the frontrunner. As recently as two months ago Tyner indicated that he planned to enroll early at Oregon so he could participate in Spring practices and get a head start on breaking into the running back rotation. Tyner has also visited Oregon several times this fall, and come away from each visit excited and beaming about the program. He has a very strong relationship with Chip and seems to already buy into the way the Ducks go about business as a football team. When he had his historic 10 touchdown night he immediately deflected attention away from himself and onto his offensive line, a selfless, team-first move that is emblematic of Kelly's Ducks. He also frequently talks about focusing on the present and what he can control, an attitude that echoes Oregon's "Win the Day" philosophy.
All that being said, if Thomas Tyner decides to play football somewhere else, it isn't the end of the world for the Ducks. Oregon is one of the best programs in the country and their success doesn't hinge on any single recruit's commitment. Tyner is a special talent and a homegrown product, and fans are justifiably excited about the prospect of him donning an Oregon uniform. But whether that happens or not will not determine Oregon's future success.
Oregon football is successful due to many factors: an incredible coaching staff, many of whom have been together for over a decade; a smart and innovative athletic department; a brilliant offensive mind in head coach Chip Kelly; a raucous and loyal fanbase; and yes, a generous donor who is committed to the Oregon brand and providing the best facilities in the country for student athletes. None of these things are affected by Tyner's decision yesterday.
In the end, recruiting is a fickle process. No one is truly bound to a school until they sign their letter of intent in February. Indeed, Tyner's decision is an ironic reminder that all of the players committed to USC, Texas, Washington, Ohio State, or any other school could all still change their minds and commit to Oregon as well.
The past year has seen unprecedented verbal commitments by players, but also unprecedented decommitments. Tyner is not the first and won't be the last. There is a long time to go to signing day. Whether Tyner is part of the 2013 Oregon recruiting class or not, rest assured that Oregon will be just fine.