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Four Ducks On Polynesian College Football Player Of The Year Watch List

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Ducks At No. 12 In Preseason Coaches Poll

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Wright Named To Hornung Award Watch List

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The versatility and dynamic playmaking ability of Mykael Wright was recognized on Thursday as the Oregon cornerback was announced as one of 57 players on the preseason watch list for the Paul Hornung Award.

Now in its 12th season, the Hornung Award is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission.

Wright was honored on Tuesday as a preseason first-team all-Pac-12 selection as a cornerback while also earning honorable mention recognition as a return specialist. Wright led the Pac-12 in 2020 with nine pass breakups, and he was the conference’s highest graded corner against the run (84.2) according to Pro Football Focus.

On special teams, Wright racked up 270 yards on 13 kickoff returns in 2020. As a freshman in 2019, he became just the third player in program history to return multiple kickoffs for touchdowns in the same season. In his career, Wright has amassed 650 kickoff return yards with an average of 28.3 yards per attempt.

Oregon has had one finalist for the Paul Hornung Award in program history – LaMichael James in 2011.

WRIGHT 2021 PRESEASON HONORS
» Paycom Jim Thorpe Award watch list
» Paul Hornung Award watch list
» Athlon Sports All-America fourth team
» Pac-12 All-Conference first team defense
» Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention return specialist
» Phil Steele Pac-12 All-Conference first team
» Athlon Sports Pac-12 All-Conference first team
 

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More Preseason Watch Lists For Forsyth, Thibodeaux

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LOS ANGELES — Preseason honors for the Oregon football team continued to roll in on Tuesday morning as center Alex Forsyth was named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy and defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux landed on the watch list for the Bronco Nagurski Trophy.
 
The Outland Trophy honors the nation’s top interior lineman. Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal has coached or recruited four of the last five Outland Trophy winners, including 2019 recipient Penei Sewell.
 
The Bronco Nagurski Trophy is awarded annually to college football’s best defensive player. Oregon has had one finalist for the Nagurksi in program history – Haloti Ngata in 2005.
 
Forsyth and Thibodeaux will represent Oregon along with Cristobal on Tuesday at 2021 Pac-12 Football Media Day. The trio can be seen live on Pac-12 Network at approximately 10:15 a.m. PT.
 
FORSYTH 2021 PRESEASON HONORS
» Outland Trophy watch list
» Rimington Trophy watch list
» Pac-12 All-Conference first team
» Phil Steele Pac-12 All-Conference first team
» Athlon Sports Pac-12 All-Conference second team
 
THIBODEAUX 2021 PRESEASON HONORS
» Chuck Bednarik Award watch list
» Bronco Nagurski Trophy watch list
» Lott IMPACT Award watch list
» Phil Steele Defensive Player of the Year
» Walter Camp All-America first team
» Pro Football Focus All-America first team
» Phil Steele All-America first team
» Athlon Sports All-America first team
» Sporting News All-America first team
» Pac-12 All-Conference first team (unanimous)
» Phil Steele All-Pac-12 first team
» Athlon Sports All-Pac-12 first team
» No. 1 player in the nation by 247Sports
» No. 1 defensive end and No. 6 overall nationally by PFF

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Ten Ducks Earn Preseason All-Pac-12 Honors

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LOS ANGELES — Ten members of the Oregon football team have received preseason all-Pac-12 honors in a vote of the conference’s media, the league office announced on Tuesday morning.
 
Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux was the lone unanimous first-team all-conference selection, and he was joined on the first team by center Alex Forsyth and cornerback Mykael Wright.
 
Running back CJ Verdell, wide receiver Johnny Johnson III, linebacker Noah Sewell and safety Verone McKinley III earned second-team all-Pac-12 honors, and running back Travis Dye, wide receiver Mycah Pittman and offensive lineman T.J. Bass received honorable mention recognition. Wright was also an honorable mention selection as a return specialist in addition to landing on the defensive first team.
 
The two-time defending Pac-12 champion Ducks were also voted as the preseason favorite to win the league. Oregon received 27 of 40 votes to win the Pac-12 Championship Game for a third straight year, as well as 38 of 40 votes to claim the Pac-12 North.
 
2021 PRESEASON ALL-PAC-12

DE Kayvon Thibodeaux – First Team Defense
» Lone unanimous first-team all-Pac-12 selection
» First Oregon defensive lineman to earn All-America honors since DeForest Buckner in 2015.
» First player to lead Oregon in sacks and TFLs in back-to-back seasons since Kenny Rowe (2009-10).
» 12.0 career sacks and 23.5 career tackles for loss.
 
C Alex Forsyth – First Team Offense
» Pac-12 all-conference second team in 2020
» Led the team with 440 total offensive snaps in 2020, allowing just one sack and four total pressures.
» Finished 2020 as Pro Football Focus’ second-highest graded center in the Pac-12 and 17th in the nation at 74.2
 
CB Mykael Wright – First Team Defense | Honorable Mention Return Specialist
» Pac-12 all-conference first team in 2020.
» Led the Pac-12 in 2020 with nine pass breakups.
» Allowed a completion percentage of 52.9 (18-of-34) when targeted, according to PFF.
» 650 career kick return yards and two touchdowns on 23 runbacks.
 
RB CJ Verdell – Second Team Offense
» Enters 2021 with 2,523 career rushing yards, good for No. 9 on the Oregon all-time list.
» 10 career 100-yard rushing performances, tied for eighth-most in program history.
» 21 career rushing touchdowns, just two away from cracking the top 10 in Oregon history.
» One of just five players in Oregon history to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons (2018-19).
 
WR Johnny Johnson III – Second Team Offense
» Enters the 2021 season with career totals of 114 receptions for 1,617 yards and 14 TDs.
» One of two Pac-12 players going into 2021 with 100 receptions, 1,500 receiving yards and 10 TDs.
» Needs 20 receptions, 431 yards and four TDs to enter the top 10 in program history in all three categories.
 
LB Noah Sewell – Second Team Defense
» Pac-12 freshman defensive player of the year in 2020.
» One of two FBS true freshmen and the only in Power 5 to lead his team in his team in tackles (45).
» First Oregon true freshman to lead the team in tackles since Troy Dye in 2016
» Led Pac-12 freshmen in tackles, FTLs (6.5) and sacks (2.0).
 
S Verone McKinley III – Second Team Defense
» Third on the team in 2020 with 41 total tackles, including 21 solo stops.
» One of just seven FBS players in 2020 with an interception, fumble recovery and at least seven tackles in a game (vs. UCLA).
» Enters 2021 with 90 career tackles (53 solo) and five interceptions.
 
RB Travis Dye – Honorable Mention
» Enters 2021 with 1,840 career rushing yards and 467 receiving yards with 11 total touchdowns.
» Led UO with 443 rushing yards in 2020 and was the only player in the Pac-12 to record at least 400 yards rushing and 200 yards receiving (239).
» First Oregon running back since 2012 with four receiving TDs in a season (2020) and two in a game (at WSU).
 
WR Mycah Pittman – Honorable Mention
» 26 career receptions for 350 yards and two touchdowns.
» Caught eight passes for 123 yards in five games in 2020.
» Seven of eight catches in 2020 resulted in a first down.
 
OL T.J. Bass – Honorable Mention
» Pac-12 all-conference honorable mention in 2020.
» Pac-12 offensive lineman of the week following Oregon’s win at Washington State.
» Did not allow a sack and surrendered just six pressures on 202 pass-blocking snaps.

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Sewell Lands On Butkus Award Watch List

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CHICAGO — After being named the Pac-12 defensive freshman of the year in 2020, Oregon linebacker Noah Sewell has landed on the 2021 preseason watch list for the Butkus Award.
 
Sewell was announced on Monday as one of 51 collegiate players selected to the watch list for the award, which has honored the nation’s best linebacker since 1985. It is named after Dick Butkus, arguably the greatest defensive player in football history.
 
Sewell was terrific for the Ducks as a true freshman, finishing as one of only two FBS true freshmen and the only in the Power 5 to lead his team in tackles (45). He was the first Oregon true freshman to lead the team in tackles since Troy Dye in 2016, and he led all Pac-12 freshmen in tackles, tackles for loss (6.5) and sacks (2.0).
 
A native of Malaeimi, American Samoa, Sewell finished 2020 as the sixth-highest graded linebacker in the Pac-12 by Pro Football Focus (70.5). In his first career matchup against Oregon State, Sewell made 10 tackles and added two TFLs to become just the second UO freshmen since 2000 with double-digit tackles and multiple tackles for loss in the same game.
 
SEWELL 2021 PRESEASON HONORS
» Dick Butkus Award watch list
» Phil Steele Pac-12 All-Conference second team
» Athlon Sports Pac-12 All-Conference third team
 

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Wright On Thorpe Award Watch List

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Oregon cornerback Mykael Wright has been named to the preseason watch list for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame (OSHOF) and Jim Thorpe Association announced on Monday morning.
 
Since 1986, the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award has honored the best defensive back in college football based on performance on the field, athletic ability and character. Wright is one of 40 players selected to the preseason watch list.
 
Wright – who is entering his third season with the Ducks – was a first-team all-conference selection in 2020 after leading the Pac-12 with nine pass breakups. He was the highest graded corner against the run (84.2) in the Pac-12 according to Pro Football Focus, and he allowed a completion percentage of 52.9 (18-of-34) when targeted.
 
An Antelope Valley, Calif., native, Wright finished 2020 with 25 total tackles, including 18 solo. He has also been a dynamic kick returner for the Ducks, totaling 270 yards on 13 runbacks in 2020 after becoming just the third player in program history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same season as a freshman in 2019.
 
WRIGHT 2021 PRESEASON HONORS
» Paycom Jim Thorpe Award watch list
» Athlon Sports All-America fourth team
» Phil Steele Pac-12 All-Conference first team
» Athlon Sports Pac-12 All-Conference first team
 

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Forsyth Selected To Rimington Trophy Watch List

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NEW YORK — Oregon’s Alex Forsyth has been selected to the preseason watch list for the Rimington Trophy, the award that honors the top center in college football.
 
This is the first career appearance on the Rimington watch list for Forsyth, a Pac-12 second-team all-conference selection by the league’s coaches in 2020. The Ducks have had a finalist for the Rimington Trophy three times in program history – Max Unger in 2008 and Hroniss Grasu in 2013 and 2014.
 
Forsyth was the anchor of Oregon’s offensive line in 2020, leading the team with 440 total offensive snaps while allowing just one sack and four total pressures on 231 pass-blocking downs. The West Linn, Ore., native finished as Pro Football Focus’ second-highest graded center in the Pac-12 and 17th in the nation at 74.2.
 
Forsyth’s total PFF grade ranked 12th-best among all Pac-12 offensive lineman, and he led all Pac-12 centers and ranked 14th in the country with a 78.2 pass-blocking grade. Forsyth helped Oregon earn Offensive Line of the Week honors by PFF following the season opener vs. Stanford, when the Ducks finished as one of just four FBS units to earn grades above 80.0 in both pass protection and run blocking.
 

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Johnson III Named To Biletnikoff Watch List

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Senior wide receiver Johnny Johnson III has been named to the preseason watch list for the 2021 Biletnikoff Award, the Tallahassee Quarterback Club (TQC) Foundation, Inc., announced on Thursday morning.
 
The Biletnikoff Award annually recognizes the college football season’s outstanding FBS receiver. Any player, regardless of position (wide receiver, tight end, slot back, and running back) who catches a pass is eligible for the award. 
 
This is the second straight year that Johnson III has been on the Biletnikoff preseason watch list.
 
A fifth-year senior in 2021, Johnson III enters the season with 114 career receptions for 1,617 yards and 14 touchdowns, needing 20 catches, 431 yards and four TDs to enter the UO all-time top 10 in all three categories. He is one of two players in the Pac-12 that will enter 2021 with 100 catches, 1,500 yards and 10 touchdowns.
 
Johnson III posted 19 receptions for 267 yards and two scores in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, becoming the 29th player in program history to surpass 100 career catches. The Chandler, Ariz., native has a reception in 39 of 47 career games.
 
The semifinalists, finalists, and Biletnikoff Award recipient are selected by the highly distinguished Biletnikoff Award National Selection Committee, a group of prominent college football journalists, commentators, announcers, Biletnikoff Award winners, and other former receivers.
 
Demetrius Williams (2005 & 2006) is the only Duck ever to be named a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award.
 

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Dye, Verdell Added To Doak Walker Award Watch List

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DALLAS — Oregon’s veteran running back duo of Travis Dye and CJ Verdell has been added to the preseason watch list for the Doak Walker Award, presented annually to the nation’s top running back.
 
This is the first Walker Award watch list appearance for Dye, and third consecutive for Verdell. Oregon has had a running back earn semifinalist status for the award five times since 2010, highlighted by LaMichael James winning in 2010.
 
Verdell enters 2021 with 2,523 career rushing yards, good for No. 9 on the Oregon all-time list and just 23 yards away from passing Ricky Whittle (2,545, 1992-95) for No. 8. The Chula Vista, Calif., native became just the fifth Duck ever to rush for 1,000-plus yards in back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019, and his 21 career rushing touchdowns are just two away from cracking the UO all-time top 10.
 
Dye was Oregon’s most productive offensive player in the shortened 2020 season, leading the Ducks with 443 rushing yards and finishing as the only Pac-12 player with at least 400 yards rushing and 200 yards receiving (239). Dye became the first UO running back since 2012 with four receiving touchdowns in a season, and he enters 2021 with 1,840 career rushing yards, 467 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns.
 

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