Thomas Tyner is one of the nation's top football recruits. That much is certain. The rising senior is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 1 overall running back prospect by Rivals.com and is also listed as one of the top-10 overall prospects in the Class of 2013.
All of those platitudes serve to underscore the fact that no one doubts Tyner has the talent to succeed at the next level, whether he attempts to do so at Oregon -- where he has committed to play football -- or at any of the five other schools he was seriously considering before choosing the Ducks. Rather, the questions surrounding Tyner now will focus on whether he can ever stay healthy enough to succeed in both of the two sports he hopes to participate in, following yet another terrifying-looking injury on the track.
As you can see above -- and as noted by the Eugene Register Guard and MaxPreps -- Tyner lasted less than halfway through the 100-meter sprint when he pulled up in agony, clutching at his hamstring before falling to the track and writhing as if he had just been shot. More troubling was the knowledge that the injury-aborted race was the first 100-meter event Tyner had competed in all spring after sitting out previous competitions while recovering from a previous hamstring injury.
In fact, much of the past two seasons have been characterized most notably by hamstring injuries for the Beaverton (Ore.) Aloha High superstar. Tyner missed six games of the 2011 football season, yet still managed to rush for an impressive 12 touchdowns and nearly 1,200 yards despite playing only half a season.
To say that those football injuries carried over to Tyner's other sport is an understatement. The junior had yet to participate in a full meet before Saturday's Oregon Relays, and his collapse during the 100 followed an explosive performance in the 4x100 relay earlier that day.
According to Tyner's father, John Tyner, the Oregon prep record holder for the 100-meter dash will be fit to return later in the season after initial diagnosis determined that Thomas Tyner's hamstring was only strained and not torn.
"We just have to fine tune some things, but he'll be back," John Tyner told the Register Guard. "It is nothing major; we just have to work through it.
"That first leg was one of the fastest I've seen. There was no split time on it, but it shows he's healthy."
One leg of a race may have made Tyner look awfully healthy, but the rising senior's continued injury issues are sure to have Oregon fans feeling plenty uncomfortable about the player who has been acclaimed as the school's next great running back before he has even officially signed on to play in Eugene.