- Brandon P. Oliver, Reporter, DuckNation
Longtime Oregon commit Thomas Tyner of Aloha (Ore.) High School, one of the best athletes to ever come out of the state of Oregon, sent shock waves throughout the entire Oregon fan base -- and also got the attention of fan bases nationwide-- when he made it known that he wants to officially visit other schools, primarily UCLA.
Oregon's policy of not recognizing the commitment of a player that chooses to visit elsewhere is well known. The fact that the policy even holds true when dealing with a local athlete of Tyner's caliber shows that the Ducks' coaching staff is serious about the way they handle recruiting.
Tyner has long said that the one school that has continued to recruit him despite his commitment to the Ducks was UCLA. UCLA's persistence, coupled with Tyner's desire to experience the California lifestyle, led him to make the decision to decommit.
Tyner has very strong ties to the state and to the Oregon program, but he feels as if he needs to explore his options to be sure he made the right choice.
"I love Oregon and everything about it." Tyner said. "I made the decision to commit there a long time ago and feel like I'll never know if it is truly the right place for me if I don't see anywhere else."
Oregon is still the heavy favorite for the No. 104 player in the ESPN 150, but like his recruitment, his spot in the Ducks' class is wide open. The Ducks have been working toward gaining a third running back commitment to complement Dontre Wilson of DeSoto (Texas) High School and until now, Tyner.
There now appears to be two spots available at running back unless Tyner re-commits after visiting UCLA and any other programs he decides to explore.
In the meantime, should the Ducks get a commitment or two out of a group of Derrick Green of Richmond (Va.) Hermitage, Alvin Kamara of Norcross (Ga.) High School, Tarean Folston of Cocoa (FLA) High School or Terrell Newby of West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade, Tyner's spot would likely no longer be there for him.
One name that has emerged for what was to be the final running back spot, is Kani Benoit of Phoenix Thunderbird. Benoit does not yet have an offer from the Ducks, but that could change in a hurry with Tyner's departure.
Another running back that has been waiting for an Oregon offer for months is Laray Smith of Brooklyn (N.Y.) Xaverian, who was no longer being pursued by the Ducks. That too could change with this news, but it is likely that the Ducks remain focused on Green, Kamara, Folston, Newby and Benoit from here on out.
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