- Brandon P. Oliver, Reporter, DuckNation
It is hard to ignore what Oregon running back commit Thomas Tyner (Aloha, Ore./Aloha) has done in the first two weeks of his senior season. The soft-spoken star is letting his performance on the field do the talking for him.
After a sophomore season in which he exploded on the scene, Tyner, the state record-holder in the 100-meter dash, suffered through an injury-riddled junior year that limited him in both football and track & field.
There was a growing concern that the country's No. 11 running back was perhaps overrated or not durable enough to succeed on the college level.
But both he and his coach said before this season that Tyner was healthy and ready to prove his doubters wrong.
As it turns out, Tyner and coach Chris Casey know best. In a Week 1 win over Thurston (Ore.) High, Tyner had a strong performance, rushing for 216 yards and four touchdowns on 10 carries. He added two catches for 34 yards and a touchdown as the Warriors got revenge on the team that knocked them out of the playoffs in 2011.
It also turns out that Tyner was just getting warmed up. Aloha traveled Friday to Tigard (Ore.) High and was down 14-7 at the half. Then the No. 104 player in the ESPN 150 took over and showed that he is not only fully healthy but that he has added a physical element to his game-breaking speed.
Tyner led the Warriors to an explosive third quarter, from trailing by a touchdown to leading 36-21 entering the fourth. Tyner had touchdown runs of 45, 73 and 74 yards while compiling 251 rushing yards in the third quarter.
For the game, the Ducks' first recruit in the Class of 2013 finished with 384 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries.
In his first two games, Tyner has 39 carries for 600 yards and seven touchdowns, while adding 34 yards and a touchdown reception.
This weekend he took in his second straight Oregon game, making the trip to Eugene for another unofficial visit. He plans to attend every home game and meet other Oregon recruits.
If he is able to stay healthy, Tyner will be an incredible addition to the Ducks' offense in 2013. Along with his game-breaking ability, he has showed some toughness early in the season and is now up to 218 pounds.
"He has learned that as a running back you need to take the fight to the defender. When they are coming to tackle you, you need to beat them to the spot and knock them on their backside" Casey said. "So far this year he has shown that. He has worked as hard as anyone I've ever coached."