Talk about a blast from the past, if I didn’t feel the urge to create a ranking of the top quarterbacks since 2000, I probably would have done what every other Oregon fan has done over the past 10 years: forgot about Darron Thomas and his major impact on the program.
Thomas was a Mike Bellotti quarterback who played minimally in 2008 but his big appearance came in a fourth-quarter comeback effort against Boise State in which he nearly engineered a 24-point comeback, throwing three touchdowns in the final frame before Oregon came up short, 32-27. He remained the backup for the rest of the season, but fans were intrigued.
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In Chip Kelly’s first season in 2009, he decided to redshirt Thomas which proved to be the right move as the sophomore quarterback flourished as the full-time starter in 2010.
The Ducks were fresh off back-to-back 10-win seasons but Thomas took the program to new heights, winning the most games in a single season in program history with a 12-1 record. He led the Ducks to the national title game where they came up just short, but his 2,881 yards and 30 touchdown passes along with 486 rushing yards and five more scores won everyone over.
In his final season with the Ducks in 2011, Thomas won 12 games yet again, including the program’s first Rose Bowl victory in nearly 100 years. He had 2,761 yards, 33 touchdowns, a 62 percent completion rate, and three more rushing scores.
Thomas’ final two seasons in Eugene were better than anything Dennis Dixon and Joey Harrington did in their time, in my opinion. He combined for over 5,600 passing yards and 63 touchdowns with only 16 interceptions and a completion rate of over 60 percent. He also rushed for 692 yards and eight touchdowns and posted a 24-3 record.
Give Thomas the respect he deserves.