The Oregon Ducks have their sights set high in 2014 as they look to regain supremacy in the Pac-12 and make a play for the inaugural college football playoff. The Ducks return plenty of star power for this fall that gives them plenty of reason to optimistic about their chances, highlighted by Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Mariota at quarterback. But one player that could make a name for himself this season and spark Oregon’s run to a national title is running back Thomas Tyner.
As a freshman in 2013, Tyner showed an incredible spark for the offense with his mix of speed and toughness as the season wore on. He finished third on the team with 711 yards on 115 carries with nine touchdowns while catching 14 passes for 134 yards out of the backfield. With the departure of De’Anthony Thomas to the NFL, there will be more carries available for Tyner in 2014 which should allow him to do even more this season.
He will be asked to work in tandem with Byron Marshall to helm the high-powered Oregon rushing attack and create one of the best running back tandems in the nation. Last season, the Ducks averaged 6.3 yards per rush as a team, tops in the Pac-12 and sixth best in all of college football. Tyner’s work this offseason, which included bulking up without sacrificing speed, sets Oregon up to be even better rushing the football in 2014.
That prolific running game will be even more important in the early going as Oregon tries to get their young and inexperienced receiving corps up to speed. With the added carries sure to come his way in 2014, Thomas Tyner is a player to watch this season as he is poised for a breakout year. Will he be the key to sending Oregon into the college football playoff this postseason?