In a surprising announcement, Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas said Saturday that he will leave school early to enter the NFL draft.
“I came to this decision on behalf of myself and my family,” Thomas said. “I have a dream of playing in the NFL and I’m going to pursue those dreams.”
Thomas told ESPN’s Joe Schad, “I saw what Cam Newton did this year. He took his raw talent and made a spark. I can do those things, too.”
Thomas, however, isn’t nearly the pro prospect that Newton was coming out of Auburn a year ago. Newton accomplished more than Thomas in college, winning the Heisman Trophy and the national championship while putting up better numbers in 2010 than Thomas did in 2011, both running and passing.
Still, just because Thomas isn’t as good as Newton, that doesn’t mean he’s not capable of being an NFL quarterback. Thomas threw for 2,761 yards and 33 touchdowns with only seven interceptions in his final college season, and he’s a talented athlete. He’ll have three months worth of workouts to show scouts that he’s ready for the NFL now, without another season of polishing his skills in college.