De'Anthony Marquies Thomas (born January 5, 1993) nicknamed "Black Momba" is an American football wide receiver and return specialist for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Chiefs in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He played college football at Oregon.

Early life

When Thomas was 12 years old, he was a Pop Warner Football star and played for the Crenshaw Bears in Snoop Dogg's Snoop Youth Football League. [2] Snoop Dogg claims to have given Thomas the nickname "Black Mamba", [3] though Sports Illustrated has written that another coach in the league first identified Thomas to Snoop Dogg as the "Black Mamba". Thomas himself prefers the spelling "Black Momba". [3]

High school career

Thomas graduated from Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, California, where he played running back, defensive back, and wide receiver under the leadership of coach Robert Garrett. Thomas rushed for 1,299 yards and 18 touchdowns on offense and collected five interceptions on defense while leading Crenshaw (12-2) to its second straight city championship. [4] Regarded as a five-star recruit by Rivals.com , Thomas was listed as the No. 1 athlete prospect in the class of 2011. [5] He played in the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Thomas was also a track sprinter, named a 2013 NCAA Division I All-American as anchor of Oregon's 4x100 relay team. He has a personal best of 10.31 seconds in the 100 meters and 20.61 seconds in the 200 meters. [6] In high school, he won the Los Angeles City Section Championship in the 100m, 2009, and went on to finish 6th in the 100m and 2nd in the 200m at the California state meet. In 2010, he won the LACS championship in both the 100m and 200m, but at the California state meet failed to move past the preliminary rounds in the 100m and finished last in the 200m final.

Recruiting
US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
De'Anthony Thomas
RB
Los Angeles, CA Crenshaw 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) 174 lb (79 kg) 4.35 Feb 2, 2011
Recruiting star ratings: Scout: Rivals: 247Sports: N/A ESPN grade: 84
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 1 ( ATH) Rivals: 1 ( CB) ESPN: 1 ( ATH)
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note : In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.

Sources:

  • . Rivals.com . Retrieved 2013-02-23 .
  • . Scout.com . Retrieved 2013-02-23 .
  • . ESPN.com . Retrieved 2013-02-23 .
  • . Scout.com . Retrieved 2013-02-23 .
  • . Rivals.com . Retrieved 2013-02-23 .

College career

Thomas was one of the most decorated prep football players to ever come out of Los Angeles and one of the most sought after recruits of the 2011 recruiting class. [7] It came as a shock when Thomas announced his decision to attend the University of Oregon over USC, which was 10 minutes from where he lived. [2] Coming out of high school, he was the #1 rated defensive back in the 2011 recruiting class but his desire to play offense in college grew over his senior season at Crenshaw High School. [8] On January 29, 2011, Thomas secretly visited Oregon on a recruiting trip and decided to play for the Ducks in Chip Kelly's blur offense. [7]

2011

Thomas had a standout 2011 season as a true freshman for Oregon. Splitting time between running back and wide receiver, as well as returning kicks and punts, Thomas amassed 2,235 all-purpose yards and scored 18 total touchdowns, setting a school record for number of touchdowns by a freshman. [9] Thomas was the only player in the 2011 college football year to amass 400 yards each in rushing, receiving, and returns. [9] He was a co-recipient of the 2011 CFPA Kickoff Returner Trophy and a freshman All-America selection. He led all freshmen with 18 touchdowns. [10]

On January 2, 2012, Thomas recorded two touchdowns and 314 all-purpose yards in the Rose Bowl where Oregon won 45-38 over #10 Wisconsin. In that game, his 91-yard touchdown run broke the previous Rose Bowl record for the longest run from scrimmage. [11] His only other carry in that game resulted in a 64-yard score, giving him a 155 rushing yards on just two carries. [12]

The Ducks finished the season 12–2 (8–1 Pac-12) with a #4 final season ranking. He was on many Heisman watch lists ahead of the 2012 season. [13] [14] [15]

2012

In 2012, Thomas continued his role as an all-purpose weapon for the Ducks. He amassed 701 yards rushing, for 11 touchdowns, and another 445 yards receiving, for 5 touchdowns. [16] Thomas continued to return kicks and punts, including a 94-yard opening kickoff return in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl, where Oregon defeated #5 Kansas State 35-17. In total, he recorded 1,757 all-purpose yards and scored 18 touchdowns. [16] Thomas led the Pac-12 conference in rushing yards per attempt with 7.6. [16] The Ducks finished the season 12–1 (8–1 Pac-12) with a #2 ranking, putting them in the top five of the final season rankings for the third straight season.

Thomas was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated on September 24, 2012. The headline inside read: "Can't Touch DAT: He's not a RB, a receiver or even a starter, UO's DAT is simply a touchdown waiting to happen." [17]

2013

Entering his junior year, Thomas was a candidate for the Paul Hornung Award, as well as being placed on watchlists for the Doak Walker Award and Heisman Trophy. [18] On September 9, 2013, he was named the Pac-12 offensive player of the week after tying a career-best with three touchdowns (all rushing) at Virginia. [19] Combined for 8 rushing touchdowns and 1 receiving touchdown.

On January 5, 2014, Thomas announced he would forgo his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft. [20]

Awards and honors

2011

  • Pac-12 Co-Offensive Freshman of the Year
  • Team's Most Outstanding Player Award
  • All-Pac-12 First Team (Pac-12 Coaches, Phil Steele)
  • Freshman All-America (Sporting News)
  • All-Freshman First Team (Phil Steele)
  • CFPA Kick Returner Performer of the Week (Washington State, USC)

2012

  • 2nd Team All-America (FOXSportsNEXT.com)
  • Maxwell Award Semifinalist (College Player of the Year)
  • Pac-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention (Pac-12 Coaches)

2013

  • Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week (Pac-12 Coaches) Sept. 9

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40‑yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20‑ss 3‑cone Vert jump Broad BP
5 ft 9 in
(1.75 m)
174 lb
(79 kg)
29 7 8 in
(0.76 m)
8 1 8 in
(0.21 m)
4.34 s 32 in
(0.81 m)
10 ft 4 in
(3.15 m)
8 reps
All values from NFL Combine [21]

2014

Thomas was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth round (124th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft. On August 7, 2014, Thomas returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown in the Chiefs' first preseason game. After being drafted, Thomas was expected to play a wide receiver and running back hybrid position in the offense, as well as being the punt returner, similar to the way Dexter McCluster had been used in previous seasons before leaving the team in the offseason. [22] In the 2014 NFL season, Thomas rushed 14 times for 113 yards, and one touchdown, as well as catching 23 passes for 156 yards. In addition to that he returned a punt for 81 yards and a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders on December 14th. He ended the season with 405 punt return yards off of 34 attempts. He was also the Chiefs main kick returner, he returned 14 kicks for 428 yards.

2015

In the 2015 offseason, Thomas was permanently switched to wide receiver. [29] His amount of touches dropped off but he was still able to score 1 touchdown on 17 catches for 140 yards, and score 1 rushing touchdown in 9 attempts for 34 yards. On December 31, 2015, Thomas was placed on reserve/non-football illness (NFI). [30] Although his season was cut short, he was still able to put up high numbers with low volume.

2016

Thomas made his return to the field in the 2016 season. [23] He saw much of his role decrease, especially as a return specialist, with the emergence of rookie speedster Tyreek Hill. Thomas still got to return 15 kicks for 338 yards, but didn't return a single punt. Yet, he was still able to obtain 35 yards off of 7 catches, and 29 yards in 4 rushing attempts. With his role decreased, he emerged in a different position as a gunner on punts and kicks. He has been able to rack up 3 tackles including a few very hard hits.

2017

At the beginning of the 2017 season, it looked as if Thomas' main role was kick returner. He was shortly removed from that job when he became more involved in the offense with the injury of their No. 1 receiver Chris Conley. Thomas, through 8 games has 85 yards on 7 receptions and 2 touchdowns. Those touchdowns came in back to back weeks, including an electrifying catch and run for 57 yards and a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 15th. He has also continued to be a gunner on special teams, so far he has racked up 2 tackles, and a fumble recovery on a muffed kick by the Denver Broncos.