Several Oregon Ducks on College Football Preseason Award Lists


National college football award “watch lists” included several Oregon Ducks this week as we are less than a month from the start of fall practice. More “watch lists” will be announced in the next week.

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After a tremendous freshman year, sophomore Royce Freeman is on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, given to the top player in the country. Last season Freeman became the first Oregon true freshman running back to break a thousand yards rushing- finishing with 1,365– and that’s also a Pac-12 Conference record as well. His 26 total touchdowns also led the conference. Last year Marcus Mariota became the first Oregon Duck to ever win the Maxwell, so Freeman is trying to make it two for two..

Two Ducks are on the list for the Paul Hornung Award for the most versatile player. Senior Byron Marshall, now a full-time receiver after making the switch from running back, and sophomore defensive back/receiver/punt returner Charles Nelson are one of 44 players on that list. Last season Marshall became the first Pac-12 player to ever rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season and have more than 1,000 career receiving yards. Nelson was Oregon’s leading punt and kick returner, caught five touchdowns as a receiver, and led the Ducks with 17 special teams tackles. Oh, and on the national-championship-winning track team he helped the 4X100 to the third-fastest time in NCAA history and made it to the West Regionals in the long jump.

Finally, senior defensive lineman DeForest Buckner is on the Bednarik Award watch list for outstanding defensive player of the year. Buckner led the Ducks with 13 tackles for loss and all Oregon Ducks Defensive Lineman with 81 total tackles.

Being named to a watch list is all well and good, but it really doesn’t mean all that much right now. A player who isn’t on a preseason watch list but plays great will get added to the list as the season progresses. For instance, Cam Newton came out of nowhere, as Duck fans well know, to win most of the major awards in 2010. He was not on any of those preseason award lists when the season began.

In other words, it’s like the Oscars. It’s nice to be nominated, but nobody’s really going to remember unless you win. Besides, in the Oregon Ducks world, individual achievements take a back seat to the team. If these nominations somehow make Freeman, Marshall, Nelson and Buckner play better then the whole team will benefit, and everyone wins.

Fall Camp begins on August 10th and the season starts on Saturday, September 5th against Eastern Washington(5pm PT, Pac-12 Networks)