Ducks QB Darron Thomas to enter NFL draft

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 14, 2012
Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas is skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft. Thomas made the announcement, which caught many by surprise, on Saturday night. He follows Oregon running back LaMichael James, who announced last week that he would skip his final year of eligibility. ''I came to this decision on behalf of myself and my family,'' Thomas said in a statement released by Oregon. ''I have a dream of playing in the NFL and I'm going to pursue those dreams. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound junior passed for 2,761 yards and a school-record 33 touchdowns this past season, despite missing a game because of an injury. He also ran for three scores. He threw only seven interceptions. The Ducks finished 12-2 with losses to LSU and USC before beating Wisconsin 45-38 in the Rose Bowl. The previous season, the Ducks lost only to Auburn in the BCS championship game. ''As in all cases, we educate our players with the information we feel will be beneficial to them throughout the process but ultimately, the decision is left up to the players,'' Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. ''I will always support Darron in his decision and want to thank him for everything he has done for this program. He obviously has played a major role in elevating Oregon football to new heights and I wish him well in the future.'' Thomas had a school-record 66 touchdown passes in 31 games with the Ducks. He ranks sixth on the school's career list with 6,629 yards of total offense and seventh with 5,910 yards passing. Backup Bryan Bennett is expected to lead the Ducks when Oregon opens spring practice on April 3. True freshmen Marcus Mariota and Jake Rodrigues will also compete for the job.
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