The Oregon Ducks pulled off one of the biggest recruiting shockers in quite some time on signing day, closing hard on former USC commit De’Anthony Thomas. For the better part of the last year, Thomas was firmly in the Trojans’ camp, never appearing to waver until just days before signing day. Yet the Ducks swooped in at the last moment, securing a visit from Thomas at the last possible moment and blowing his socks off down the stretch.
It’s not often you see a five-star, consensus No. 1 athlete hold a commitment for a good nine months before changing his mind right before the time to sign on the dotted line comes. Combine that with the fact that Oregon was never mentioned as an option for Thomas until the last moment and you’ve got a recruiting stunner that can’t be understated. Somehow, Oregon was able to get in Thomas’ ear and convince him to join a Ducks’ team that fits his style almost perfectly.
Thomas’ commitment signifies the change in guard in the Pac-10. Though USC had an excellent class in its own right, seeing Oregon poach the cornerstone of the Trojans’ class at the last moment is symbolically significant. The Ducks have been on the rise, dethroning the USC dynasty over the last two years and taking over the top-spot in the Pac-10. Years ago, you’d never see a recruit like Thomas spurn the Trojans at the last moment for Oregon, a testament to what head coach Chip Kelly is doing in Eugene.
Though both Oregon and USC put together superb classes, Thomas’ switch will be remembered for years to come. He’s the kind of game-changer, especially for the Ducks, that should have an impact right away, and for as long as he’s in Eugene. He’s the one that got away from Lane Kiffin, and the unexpected nature of it all make it all the more shocking for those watching from afar. If nothing else, it adds intrigue to a USC-Oregon rivalry that’s picked up as the Ducks have risen to power.
For more on Thomas and signing day, check out our StoryStream to re-live all the action.