In the backfields of Oregon's opponents endzone is a mysterious shadow who comes out of nowhere. A gazelle-like leap and moments later, this mystery is lying on the ground, holding up his hands to the sky, one hand usually holding that elusive football in joyful celebration. A scene that has characterized many of Oregon's thrilling games in the last two years, this phenomenon has a name, the rather ordinary name of Jeffrey Maehl. And the end zone is not his only hunting ground...
Jeff Maehl, the senior wide receiver from Paradise, CA, has been blazing a trail for the Oregon Ducks this year. Maehl has been absolutely clutch these last two years, one of the trusty lynchpins of Oregon's dramatic 2010 offensive juggernaut. He caught national attention with simply stellar performances in key games in 2009, particularly Oregon's thrilling defeat of Arizona in the desert. Absolutely spectacular catches on critical downs, including a touchdown in overtime of that 2009 game, had Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit gushing about his reliability and his athletic abilities.
Oregon's thrilling, fluid, fast-break, no-huddle, multi-weapon scoring machine has been truly a joy to watch this year, scoring at the ridiculous rate of over fifty points a game. Maehl has been one of the centerpieces of that firepower, continuing his outstanding production from last year. He's not blazing fast, but is fast enough to get open against almost anyone. He has superb balance and ball handling skills with catch after thrilling catch demonstrating his ballet-like grace and ability to leap like a gazelle into the path of the ball.
"Maehl, the reliable one" has been celebrated in song and in statistics this year. He currently is or was:
- seventh on the all-time receptions list for Oregon
- ninth on the all-time career receiving yards list for Oregon
- one shy of the Oregon record for most consecutive games (7) with a receiving TD
- the receiving leader in 2009 and is expected to be the receiving leader in 2010 as well for Oregon
- seventh so far in national rankings of TDs scored (11), 25th in yards/game (83), 31st nationally in reeiving yards (830), 34th in receptions (59)
Some of his unforgettable grabs here:
Oregon WR Jeff Maehl 45 yard juggling diving touchdown catch 10-30-10 (via keeerrrttt1)
(updated to show a different, longer version of this catch)
Oregon WR Jeff Maehl breaks tackles for a big gain vs. Tennessee 9-11-2010 (via keeerrrttt1)
Oregon WR Jeff Maehl scores a touchdown in overtime vs. Arizona 11-21-2009 (via keeerrrttt1)
Jeff Maehl TD Run vs UW 8/30/2008 (via bigdlovestheducks)
Jeff Maehl catches a pass and takes a huge hit vs. OSU 12-01-2007 (via keeerrrttt1)
(Update: fixed the URL to show the correct video here)
On November 20, 2010, his high school retired Jeff's jersey number, which he characteristically was gracious and modest about. Maehl won PAC 10 offensive player of the week honors for his efforts in the game versus USC this year, where he had 8 catches for 145 yards and 3 touchdowns, likely to go down as the signature game of his superlative Oregon career.
Jeff, thank you for your four outstanding years on and off the field at Oregon! You exemplify in character and achievement what Oregon stands for, and we're proud to have you represent us. It's thrilling every time you catch the ball, and we just know you're going to lay out and give your all for Oregon. We love you, Jeff!