ALOHA, Ore. -- Oregon has made a habit of signing small, dynamic running backs who fit its high-octane system. With 2013 running back Thomas Tyner (Aloha, Ore./Aloha), the Ducks will have another back with the skill set and talent they're used to, only in a bigger package.
The 6-foot, 215-pound four-star will bring everything the Ducks desire in a back. While the No. 11 running back in the ESPN 150 has the ability to run over a defender should one happen to be in his way, he is best known for his speed. On the track, Tyner has participated in the Junior Olympics and set the Oregon state record in the 100 meters with a 10.35 as a sophomore.
If Tyner gets the slightest crease, he is a threat to score. And the Ducks want to get their playmakers in space and let them go. Of all the game-breakers on Oregon's roster, there is only one who possesses Tyner's home run ability: Heisman Trophy candidate De'Anthony Thomas. That was never more apparent than last Friday night when Tyner ran for a state record 644 yards and 10 touchdowns on 38 carries.
Tyner has been described as a combination of former Oregon-turned-NFL running backs Jonathan Stewart, Reuben Droughns, Onterrio Smith and LaMichael James. Tyner still has a lot of work to do to reach their levels of success, but the one advantage he has on all of them is his blend of size and speed.
"Tyner is a combination of all the good backs Oregon has had. They want to get guys in space and have them get up the field," said Craig Haubert, national recruiting analyst for ESPN Recruiting Nation. "There's no one better with nothing but green in front of him. Tyner has world-class speed, so seeing him get up the field vertically is going to be a scary sight for opposing defenses."