Big-Name Ducks Named to Maxwell and Bednarik Watch Lists
In a statement released by the University of Oregon and Maxwell Football Club, Oregon’s Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas have been named as two of 65 of the nation’s best football players for the 76th annual Maxwell Award, given to the most outstanding player in FBS football (Division 1).
Maxwell Watch ListBarner, as a Ducks back, has had a stellar three three seasons and will finally get his shot as the feature back in Chip Kelly’s high-power offense. In three seasons, Barner has totaled 1,856 yards rushing in 304 attempts (6.1 YPC) and 20 TDs.
Last season, Barner rushed for a career-high 939 yards and 11 TDs, starting games against Arizona State and Colorado in LaMichael James’ absence. But not only is Barner a great running back, his presence in the receiving game is lethal. He has combined for 335 yards catching and five touchdowns, a must needed threat to force defenders to not load the box.
And with James’ departure to the NFl, Barner will likely return to his role as kickoff returner where he set a school record in return yards as a freshman (1,020 yards) and a 100-yard TD against UCLA.
Thomas is equally as exciting, and anticipation for 2012 rivals the expectations placed on James’ shoulders for the past two seasons. Many expect the young RB/WR to earn a trip to New York City and add his name to a short list of Oregon Heisman finalists.
As a freshman, Thomas racked up 2,235 yards and 18 TDs. Even more impressive? Thomas was the only player who recorded over 500 yards in rushing, receiver and kick off returning. Despite a few fumbles against LSU on opening day, young De’Anthony’s career has been flawless.
The Oregon Ducks’ backfield, while maybe its strongest in school history, lacks the presence of James and former back Tra Carson. Thomas will be called on even more in 2012.
Other Pac-12 athletes listed include: Arizona State’s Cameron Marshall (RB), California’s Keenan Allen (WR) and Isi Sofele (RB), Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor (RB), UCLA’s Jonathon Franklin (RB), USC’s Matt Barkley (QB), Robert Woods (WR), Marquise Lee (WR) and Curtis McNeal (RB), Utah’s John White IV (RB), Washington’s Keith Price (QB) and Washington State’s Marquess Wilson (WR). Arizona, Colorado and Oregon State did not have a player represented.
Also released on Monday are the members of the watch list for the 18th annual Bednarik Award given to the best defensive player.
Oregon Ducks John Boyett and Dion Jordan donned the noted names of the nation’s best defensive players.
Boyett had someone down numbers in 2011, but don’t let that confuse you. While Boyett only recorded one interception last season, offenses were forced to go to the opposite side of the field or face the consequences of facing one of the nation’s best safeties.
Opposing offenses learned their lesson from Boyett’s five interceptions as a sophomore, and have been playing a more conservative style of play since.
Jordan earned all-conference honors for his outstanding play on the defensive line last season, and his productivity should reach a new height in 2012.
College football analist Phil Steele has Jordan as a first-team DE and Ducks fans might even see an all-American type of performance.
Other Pac-12 athletes listed include: Oregon State’s Jordan Poyer (CB), Stanford’s Shane Skov (LB) and Chase Thomas (LB) and USC’s Dion Bailey (LB), T.J. McDonald (S) and Nickell Robey (CB).
Stay tuned for other featured watch lists including Oregon Ducks and Pac-12 talent.