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An End-of-the-Decade Look Back: The Best Players— Football Edition

An in-depth look at the all-time greats from the decade that either ends tomorrow or a year from tomorrow, not that there’s anything wrong with that

Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio - Wisconsin v Oregon

In this installment of ATQ’s Look Back, we train our spotlight on the greatest Duck players to step onto the gridiron from the past ten years. This was no easy task, as so many talented players contributed to Oregon’s unprecedented success during this era. From Armstead to Yrurnotgonnapronounceit, the list of eligible candidates for this List to end all Lists stretches for many Osweilers.

Now, I didn’t just take statistics into account; I also looked at personal awards and honors, players’ contributions to team success, and even highlight-reel plays. And this list isn’t just offensive skill players— I took an objective look at ALL players for inclusion. Well, except for kickers...

Your favorite player not on the list? Not ranked high enough? Feel free to state your case in the comments (like I really need to tell ATQ that).

1. Marcus Mariota

Duh. Heisman Trophy winner, along with EVERY other trophy imaginable (Maxwell, Manning, Camp, O’Brien, Unitas, AP Player of the Year) after his other-worldly 2014 campaign... also a unanimous All-American, PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year, and three-time PAC-12 All-Conference First Team... Oregon’s career leader in passing yards and touchdown passes... led Oregon to second Rose Bowl victory of the decade, and second National Championship Game appearance... need I say more?

2. LaMichael James

2010 Doak Walker Award winner, unanimous All-American, and Heisman Trophy finalist after his sophomore year in 2010... All-Conference First Team in both 2010 and 2011... Second on Oregon’s career rushing yards, all-purpose yards, and rushing touchdowns list... Tied for first on Oregon’s all-time single season rushing touchdown list.

3. Royce Freeman

All-Conference First Team as a sophomore in 2015, Second Team as a frosh (‘14), and as a senior (‘16), Honorable Mention as a junior (‘15)... Oregon’s all-time career leader in rushing yards, all-purpose yards, rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns scored, and total points scored... Oregon’s all-time single-season leader in rushing yards... Led Ducks in rushing all four seasons of his Oregon career.

4. Darron Thomas

Second Team All-Conference as a sophomore in 2010... Third on Oregon’s all-time career touchdown passes list, eighth in total offense... first Duck quarterback to pass for thirty or more touchdowns in a season twice... guided team to first ever National Championship Game after 2010 season, and to first Rose Bowl victory in 95 years after 2011 season.

5. De’Anthony Thomas

PAC-12 Freshman-of-the-Year and First Team All-Conference in 2011, Honorable Mention as a sophomore in 2012... Fourth on Oregon’s all-time career list for all-purpose yards, sixth in points scored, and first in kickoff return touchdowns... Holds Rose Bowl Record for longest touchdown run against Wisconsin, 2012.

6. Justin Herbert

PAC-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention as a junior and senior... Currently second on Oregon’s all-time career list for passing yards and touchdown passes... Holds Oregon’s single game passing yards record... Three time Academic All-American and Campbell Trophy winner as a senior... 2020 ROSE BOWL MVP.

7. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Consensus All-American and a Jim Thorpe Award finalist as a senior in 2014... First Team All-Conference as a sophomore, junior, and senior.

8. DeForest Buckner

2015 PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-Conference, and Ted Hendricks Award finalist as a senior... Second Team All-Conference as a junior... Tenth on both Oregon’s all-time career tackles for loss as well as career sacks lists.

9. Penei Sewell

Outland and Morris Trophies winner, and Unanimous All-American as a sophomore in 2019... part of offensive line that was finalist for Joe Moore Award... First Team All-Conference as a sophomore and Honorable Mention as a frosh.

10. Kenjon Barner

Consensus All-American, Ninth in Heisman Trophy balloting, and First Team All-Conference as a senior in 2012... Third all-time on Oregon’s career rushing yards, all-purpose yards, and rushing touchdowns... Fifth all-time in career total points scored... only Oregon player to ever rush for over 300 yards in a game (321 against U$C, 2012).

Honorable Mention:

Troy Dye

Dion Jordan

Josh Huff

Vernon Adams

John Boyett