A Possible Explanation For De’Anthony Thomas Choosing Oregon


At his National Signing Day press conference, Lane Kiffin talked about how he and his staff tried to build a wall around Southern California and keep the pipeline to USC. When asked if he thought his staff had accomplished the feat, Kiffin coyly replied, “I don’t think we know yet,” as he turned a little red. His comment was in reference to De’Anthony Thomas, the five-star athlete from Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles. Thomas had been committed to USC since May of 2010, but rumors had been swirling that he had visited Oregon the weekend before National Signing Day and he would sign with the Ducks.

NBCSports affiliate CollegeFootballTalk.com offers a possible explanation for the switch:

"According to an e-mail sent to ConquestChronicles.com, Thomas, a Los Angeles native, witnessed a murder while at a party and helped police identify the gang members in question. As a result, a hit was reportedly put on Thomas and his family by members of the accused gang. Thomas then decided to commit to Oregon over his hometown university for fear of his own safety. The e-mail reads: He actually isn’t a punk. He is a good kid. What happened is, he was at a party and some gang bangers killed a guy. He did the right thing and cooperated with the police and they arrested the murderers. As a result of his cooperation, the gang bangers put a hit on him and his family. The hit is credible and they truly fear for their lives. As a result, he shot up to Oregon and decided to go there to get away from the threat. That is why he was crying when he made the announcement. He was the kid in the class that was actively recruiting other recruits to come to USC. He did us a tremendous favor by recruiting kids to SC and forestalling his announcement until after we had our 30 guys. The kid is heartbroken."

It is important to note that the story has not been confirmed. As astute twitter friend Scott Enyeart points out, Thomas will still be in Los Angeles until midsummer when high school ends and the report indicates his family has not decided if they want to move away. Whether the story is true or not, it is very sad. If true, it is heartbreaking that Thomas wasn’t allowed to choose between colleges because he spoke out and had the courage to cooperate with the police. If the account is merely a fable, it is awful that somebody would go to such lengths to explain the fact that the Black Mamba chose Oregon. Yes, he is an incredible prospect, but someone should not make up fantasies as to why he didn’t choose USC. If he genuinely felt his best opportunity was at Oregon, then so be it.