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September 25, 2012
Thomas Tyner broke an Oregon state record by rushing for 644 yards - and he added 10 touchdowns - in one game earlier this month.
After that performance, Tyner was surprised when told he ran for so many yards.
"I thought I only ran for 400," Tyner said.
That's how high expectations are on Tyner, a four-star running back from Beaverton (Ore.) Aloha who was awarded his U.S. Army All-American Bowl game jersey during a presentation at his high school Tuesday.
No one expects him to put up those monstrous numbers during his time in San Antonio but Tyner is looking forward to the Army Bowl's national stage to continue proving he's one of the nation's best running backs.
"I see it as a huge opportunity to get a good head start to college," Tyner said. "I know all those guys will be on the college level so it will give me a chance to compete against them and playing in the Alamodome, that's a dream. That should be a lot of fun."
The Army Bowl was always a draw to Tyner, rated as the sixth-best running back and No. 51 prospect in the 2013 class.
He's seen recent players from Oregon shine in the game and being the state's top prospect this recruiting cycle, Tyner thought it was important to represent himself, his school, his community and his state in the all-star extravaganza.
"It's an extreme honor not only for me but I think it's an honor for the whole community," said Tyner, who's rushed for 1,484 yards and 19 touchdowns in four wins this season.
"It's something for them to look at down the road. They've all helped me play in the Army game so it's a big step for the community and a great honor for me. I know some local guys played in it. That played into my decision and the Army game has always stuck out to me for some reason."
The weeklong event in San Antonio serves many purposes and for many it's a chance to figure out their recruitments, find the right school and meet friends who might influence them to one team over another.
For Tyner, who committed to Oregon in November of his junior season, it will be nice to spend some time meeting people and influencing them. He's done worrying about the recruiting process. Tyner, averaging 371 rushing yards per game this season, is set for the Ducks and couldn't be more pleased.
"I made my decision early last year because I wanted to cruise through my senior year and not have to worry about it," Tyner said. "I'm going through my senior year of high school like any other student would, not worrying about recruiting or anything, but worrying about my classes and all the academic stuff.
"I'm very excited about Oregon. Last year I got to know the team, the coaches and the community really well so I feel like I'm going in and comfortable with everything there. Not only do they have great success in athletics but there is great success in the community and I'm part of the family which is really nice for me. Not to mention the uniforms are even better so I have a lot to look forward to."
During numerous unofficial visits, Tyner has even jump-started recruiting some players, possibly future teammates. He's not overbearing but the four-star knows how to sell the Oregon program.
With a lofty ranking, exquisite facilities and a system at Oregon that intrigues many top prospects, Tyner doesn't have a difficult job but it's one he looks forward to every time he's on campus.
"I go down to games and if some people are on officials I talk to them," Tyner said. "They just picked up (Tyree Robinson and Tyrell Robinson) from California. I talked to them and they're a big pickup. I do that sometimes when I visit Oregon."
Tyner might do a little more of it in San Antonio.