The Oregon Ducks have built their success on the speed of head coach Chip Kelly‘s blur offense. Perhaps nobody has been a more perfect a fit for that high-octane philosophy than sophomore phenom and burner extraordinaire De’Anthony Thomas, who is racing his way right into Heisman consideration.
But how fast is he? Well, according to the latest cover of Sports Illustrated, he might be the fastest player in the football. And Thomas has put up the highlight reel stats to back it up.
In three games, Thomas has amassed 382 yards and seven touchdowns…on just 24 touches. He leads the team in receiving yards (154) and is second on the team in rushing yards (228). He’s averaging 15.9 yards on every touch and a touchdown every 3.4 touches. His seven touchdowns are tied for first in the nation, and he’s getting his hands on the ball just eight times a game so far. If he got the ball 34 times in a game? He’d be on pace to score 10 touchdowns, which would be some kind of record.
He’s also showing off that speed in the return game. So far this season, Thomas has returned seven punts at an average of 13.3 yards, which ranks in the top-30 nationally. In short, any time he gets his hands on the ball, hold your breath because you might be seeing something spectacular.
The most incredible part about Thomas and his stats is that he’s getting them without playing that much. His days have been wrapped up by halftime in the first three games. He isn’t even technically a starter or have a set position. Kelly just trots him out on the field, lines him up wherever, and lets Thomas, a.k.a. DAT, do what he does best.
Don’t expect Thomas to fade away, either, now that the Ducks are facing some stiffer competition. Just ask the Wisconsin Badgers about last year’s Rose Bowl game where Thomas burst onto the national scene on just two carries. Both of them found paydirt and he finished the day with 155 yards…on just a pair of carries. That can’t be overstated.
Teams know all about De’Anthony Thomas and the threat he poses to score every time he touches the ball. But it may not matter because they won’t be able to catch him anyways.