Donning Nike socks with the “100″ label emblazoned around the exterior, former Oregon running back De’Anthony Thomas used the emblem and today as a way to signify his attitude and ability to numerous scouts at Oregon’s pro day.
“The socks were my motivation today about the 4.5,” said Thomas, referring to his 40-yard dash time at the NFL combine. “Today I just had to come out here and keep everything 100 and just go hard.”
And Thomas did just that as he submitted a far better showcase of his innate speed for NFL teams with an unofficial time of 4.39 seconds in the 40.
“I (ran) 4.5 in ninth grade so I was like, ‘Wow its crazy,’” Thomas said. “But I feel like it made me train harder and I just use it as motivation.”
Now training at the Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., Thomas’ other marks for the day included 4.23 short shuttle, 6.95 three cone drill and an 11.46 long shuttle.
Often the topic of conversation when it comes to an athlete that can play multiple positions at the higher ranks, the Crenshaw, Calif., native continued to show his optimistic nature when it comes to his draft status and where he will end up on an NFL roster.
“I want to get anywhere on the field just to play and show my ability that I can play football,” Thomas said. “Wide receiver, punt returner, kick returner, just somewhere I can contribute and make plays.”
Several other Oregon prospects traveled back to Eugene and performed for their final time at the Moshofsky Center Thursday. The list included safeties Brian Jackson and Avery Patterson, neither of whom were invited to the NFL combine.
For Jackson, being back at the facilities to compete for a final time made for an unusual feeling, just knowing that he would leave behind a place where he wore the green and yellow for four years.
“I was just seeing some of the cool stuff they are going to wear for (spring football), but that’s all over with now,” Jackson said. “Walking around here remembering everything that you’ve been through, it’s kind of surreal that it’s already over.”
For guys like Josh Huff, Taylor Hart and Terrance Mitchell, though, Thursday had a lot more waning on their futures to even get caught up in the memory of their stay at Oregon.
Mitchell, despite hamstring tightness, performed in all the drills and posted an unofficial time of 4.56 in the 40. Mitchell said he was disappointed in the event at the combine, where he ran an official time of 4.63, and his result Thursday did not do much to change the overall perception of his speed. He did, however, improve his broad jump by four inches from his mark at the NFL combine.
Huff continued his impressive offseason, showing no obvious weaknesses in any of the drills. His 40 time would be just behind Thomas’, at an unofficial time of 4.43. Hart ran a 4.81.
With numerous scouts representing several NFL teams in attendance, this was the last, and only time for some, to display their athletic ability in a setting such as this before the draft begins on May 8. For the 11 Ducks participating, Thursday was a measurement that could define where they will end up in May. For most of them, though, just one opportunity is all they are asking for.
“If I get a shot, then I’m going to make the most of it,” Jackson said. “I prepared a lot for this day, and I still feel like I could’ve done a little better, but there’s nothing you can do about it now and that’s all behind me.”
Follow Justin Wise on Twitter @JWISE25