Say this for Oregon: It knows how to recruit running backs.
The latest in a crop of talented Ducks runners is Thomas Tyner, a lightning-fast, five-star playmaker from Beaverton, OR, who is ranked as the top player at his position for the Class of 2013, according to Rivals.com.
Tyner also is the ninth overall player for his class and one who is set to be placed alongside the likes of a honor roll of ex-Duck running backs like Reuben Droughns, Maurice Morris, Onterrio Smith, Jonathan Stewart and LaMichael James.
There’s even current Oregon RBs Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas, the dynamic runner from Los Angeles who chose Oregon over USC. Thomas will be a sophomore in the fall of 2012. But his presence won’t stunt the excitement for Tyner, who already has committed to land in Eugene – where he also will run track.
“I don’t know his best high school time, but I watched him play and he’s fast,” Tyner said to ESPN.com about Thomas. “I won’t say I’ll beat him, but it would be a good race. Hopefully we’ll make it on the relay squad together and qualify for nationals.”
We can tell you about Tyner’s track prowess. He set a state record in 2011 in the 100 meters with a time of 10.35 and is considered the state of Oregon’s top sprinter, according to most reports.
Thomas’ personal best in the 100 meters is reportedly 10.57, meaning Tyner is even faster than a player who appears to be the fastest man in college football.
In interviews, Tyner talks of his love for football. It’s clear that just being fast won’t earn you a ticket to Canton, OH, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame – but it will give him a good head start on the college gridiron.
Fortunately for Tyner, he will have his senior year in high school to polish his game. He struggled with a concussion and fractured tibia as a junior and did not play a full season. Tyner still totaled 1,136 yards and 13 total touchdown despite missing six games.
However, Tyner fell short of his personal goals of 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns, according to ESPN.com. The web site talked in January’s aftermath of how it was supposed to be the next step for him as a player after he helped Aloha High School earn its first Class 6A title the previous year.
Instead, we will have to see how Tyner recovers from the injuries this fall. Something tells us that he’s not going to have a problem since it’s clear that he’s motivated from his shortened campaign.
“It was very disappointing,” Tyner said, according to ESPN. “It hurt standing on the sidelines. Some of my best friends were seniors and not playing with them the entire season hurt.”
Yes, Tyner is just a teenager; in fact, ESPN.com tells us that he likes “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
A 6-foot, 200-pound player, Tyner is aware that it’s best for him to play within a spread offense like Oregon’s so he can get out in space and use his speed. That helped him make the decision to choose the Ducks over rival Oregon State and a host of national powers because he knows offenses at other top schools weren’t tailored to his size.
“Football-wise, I think I fit pretty well into Oregon’s offense,” Tyner told The Oregonian in November. “I think with a lot of those SEC schools, they run a Pro-I, grinding type offense that would take a toll on my body. In Oregon’s spread offense, I can get out in the open and use my speed. I think I can rack up some yards. Plus, Oregon has shown they do a good job recruiting offensive linemen.
“And school wise, I want to go into broadcasting and I looked into their program, and I think it will be great for me.”
You see, Tyner has it all covered – and is already giving Pac-12 defensive coordinators even more nightmares about Oregon’s offense.