Clay & Mariota named Oregon's Most Outstanding Players
EUGENE - Senior linebacker Michael Clay, as well as redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota, were honored as the University of Oregon's Most Outstanding Players at the school's annual football awards reception Sunday afternoon in the Club at Autzen in Autzen Stadium.
In addition, senior Dion Jordan was voted the team's Most Inspirational Player (Wilford Gonyea Award).
Recipients of both honors were determined in a vote by their Oregon teammates.
Clay started all 11 games that he played this year and completed the regular season as the Ducks' leading tackler (92), as well as ranking fifth in the Pac-12 Conference (8.4 avg.). The San Jose, Calif., standout and second-year starter finished last season second in the league in tackles per game (8.9). Included in his totals was a personal-best 20 tackles a week ago against Stanford as the second-team Academic All-Conference choice led or shared the team lead in tackles in six of the 11 games in which he played.
Mariota becomes the Ducks' second freshman in as many years to share the program's "Most Outstanding" honors, following De'Anthony Thomas from a year ago.
The Honolulu, Hawaii native, who became the school's first freshman quarterback in 21 years to start the season opener, flourished on all fronts, leading the Pac-12 in passing efficiency (5th nationally) and ranking second in the conference in touchdown passes (30). His completion percentage of 69.87% is currently ahead of the NCAA freshman record of 69.5 percent (Sam Bradford, Oklahoma, 2007). Mariota has completed 218 of 312 passes for 2,511 yards and only six interceptions.
Jordan is one of five finalists for the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top collegiate linebacker. One of the Ducks' emotional leaders each of the past two season, Jordan has tallied 44 tackles in 2012, in addition to ranking second on the team in tackles for loss (10.5) and quarterback sacks (5.0).
In addition, freshman defensive lineman DeForest Buckner was honored with the Len Casanova Award, given to the Ducks' first-year player who best exemplifies the athletic ideals and inspiration of the University's former head coach and athletic director, Len Casanova.
Additional team honorees included senior offensive lineman Carson York as the winner of the Elmer Sahlstrom Award as the senior maintaining an outstanding academic record who has demonstrated an exemplary attitude as well as tremendous contribution on the field; senior running back Kenjon Barner as the recipient of the Duane J. Cargill Memorial Award as Oregon's outstanding offensive impact player as determined by the coaching staff; redshirt freshman linebacker Tyson Coleman as the recipient of the Dudley Clarke Memorial Award as Oregon's most improved player; senior linebacker Kiko Alonso with the Bob Officer Award, presented to the player who excels in spite of physical adversity; junior defensive lineman Taylor Hart with the Joe Schaffeld Trophy as the team's outstanding defensive lineman; sophomore offensive lineman Jake Fisher, who was presented with the Pancake Club Award for knocking down the most opposing defensive linemen; and sophomore center Hroniss Grasu as the recipient of the Oregon Ed Moshofsky Trophy as Oregon's outstanding offensive lineman.
Grasu also was presented with the Todd Doxey Award, given to the player who best exemplifies the traits of spirituality, dedication and brotherhood associated with being an outstanding teammate, and qualities possessed by the Ducks' former defensive back, who drowned prior to the start of the 2008 season.
In addition, redshirt freshman offensive lineman Andre Yruretagoyena and sophomore linebacker Grant Thompson were acknowledged for their contributions as the season's offensive and defensive Scout Team Players of the Year, respectively, while junior Dane Ebanez was named special teams Scout Team Player of the Year.
Oregon has accumulated an 11-1 record and awaits word of its eighth consecutive bowl destination, which will be announced next Sunday, Dec. 2.