Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas entering 2014 NFL Draft

Monday January 6th, 2014

His speed is elite, but what role De'Anthony Thomas might play in the NFL is unclear. His speed is elite, but what role De'Anthony Thomas might play in the NFL is unclear. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

DAT is taking his twitter account and his stable of pets to the pros. The Oregon junior made the announcement Sunday evening on the school's official site, GoDucks.com.

Said De'Anthony Thomas:

"I am officially withdrawing from the University of Oregon to pursue a professional career in the NFL. 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."

When healthy, the junior running back was as explosive as any in college football -- a threat to score whenever he touched the ball, whether on a rush, a return or a catch. He was hampered by injuries in 2013 and was held to just 594 yards on 96 carries. Thomas missed all of four games and was limited in a few others. Despite his small frame at 5-foot-9, 176 pounds, Thomas should be intriguing to a number of NFL teams.

With the NFL placing a premium on playmakers regardless of whether they play a traditional role or not, the Oregon running back could make a big impact. Big combine numbers could boost Thomas's draft stock, but chances are that he won't go any earlier than the fourth or fifth round.

Goodbye, DAT. We'll always remember you for your exciting runs and your healthy love of the caps lock button.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.