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Crenshaw's De'Anthony Thomas says he will play at Oregon

Highly recruited running back chooses the Ducks after having committed to USC.

February 02, 2011|Eric Sondheimer

After eight months of being committed to USC, the most recognizable and decorated high school football player in Los Angeles, running back De'Anthony Thomas of Crenshaw, announced Wednesday that Oregon is his college choice.

"I felt comfortable in Eugene," he said.

Thomas, the City Section player of the year and the Glenn Davis Award winner, made a recruiting trip to Oregon last weekend and said he informed USC Coach Lane Kiffin of his reversal Tuesday.

"I loved it," he said of his recruiting visit to Oregon. "To me, the players had the same mind-set as me."

He became emotional in his announcement in front of family, friends and teammates in the high school's multi-purpose room, with tears going down his face, especially near the end of his announcement when he made it clear that he would be leaving Los Angeles.

"After my football career, I guarantee I'll be back and coach at Crenshaw High School," he said.

Thomas is known for his speed and athleticism. He was a standout running back and defensive back for the Cougars, who won consecutive City Section Division I championship. He plans to be a running back for the Ducks.

Asked about leaving behind family and loyal fans, Thomas said, "I had to do what was best for me and was most comfortable."

Thomas didn't leave any doubt when he showed up what school he had selected. He was wearing a green Oregon sweatshirt when he spoke, then took off the sweatshirt and revealed an Oregon shirt.

At the same announcement, teammate Marcus Martin, an offensive lineman, said he would be attending USC, and another teammate, defensive lineman Junior Alexis, picked Hawaii.

USC freshman linebacker Hayes Pullard, a Crenshaw graduate, was at the event and said he supported Thomas' decision.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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