We're running out of superlatives to describe Oregon sophomore De'Anthony Thomas.
"Fastest" works in most cases. "Most electric" is appropriate, too. Problem is, they don't always do Thomas justice.
Not long after the TV announcers noted during the Fresno State game how Thomas is often untouched on his way to the end zone, because his simply outruns defenders, Thomas took a handoff from Marcus Mariota, plowed through a defensive back and broke a couple more tackles on his way to a 51-yard touchdown.
The Ducks' star running back/receiver/returner was back at it again in Saturday's 63-14 win over Tennessee Tech, turning in 222 all-purpose yards on just 10 touches. Not 10 carries; 10 touches.
He scored twice, and it would have been three touchdowns, but Thomas fumbled after he was hit from behind at the 1-yard line on a 59-yard run in the first quarter. Sophomore tackle Jack Fisher recovered in the end zone for the touchdown.
For the game, Thomas had three carries for 62 yards and a TD; three receptions for 73 yards and a TD; and four punt returns for 87 yards.
For the season, he now has 13 carries for 228 yards and four TDs; a team-high 11 receptions for 154 yards and three TDs; and seven punt returns for 93 yards.
That breaks down to 33 touches for 475 yards and seven touchdowns, an average of 14.4 yards per touch and an average of one touchdown for every 4.7 touches.
Those are, in short, ridiculous numbers, and if he keeps it up, and the Ducks keep winning, Thomas will be on the short list for the Heisman Trophy when the award is handed out in December. He's already on most analysts' watch lists, and he still hasn't come close to playing a full game (although he did get a little bit of work in the second half against Fresno State).
You get the sense that coach Chip Kelly is saving Thomas, as much as possible, before unleashing him on the Pac-12. And I'm curious to see what else Oregon has in its playbook for Thomas; as he's done in the past, Kelly hasn't quite opened up the playbook during these first three weeks, so there's plenty more that the Ducks have been working on. With practices now closed to the media, though, we can only imagine what's to come.
In the meantime, Ducks fans can revel in the excitement that Thomas has brought to the team's first three games. He's a threat to score every time he touches the ball, and his awareness on the field is as spectacular as his speed and ability to juke defenders.
Fastest. Most electric. Most exciting. Biggest scoring threat.
Take your pick. It all fits De'Anthony Thomas.
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