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Comparing Duck Legends Past and Present: Who Can Shake Up the Record Books?

Comparing Duck Legends Past and Present: Who Can Shake Up the Record Books?

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Published by: FishDuck on Jul 26, 2012
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Originally posted on FishDuck.com:http://fishduck.com/2012/07/comparing-duck-legends-past-and-present-who-can-shake-up-the-record-books/Comparing Duck Legends Past and Present: Who Can Shake Up the Record Books?Reported by Joey Holland on July 26, 2012 inFishWrap, FishWrap Archive, HistoryArticle | 0 CommentsThe University of Oregon has played host to some truly great football players throughout its history. During the last century of Oregon football, from the timeof Shy Huntington’s East-West Tournament teams (the precursor to the Rose Bowl) all the way through the reign of Mike Bellotti, each era of the program has seen numerous players climb their way up the school record books.While many legendary Ducks did great things during their time in Eugene, the Oregon football program’s success has exploded over the last few years to levels never previously imagined possible, among the top programs in the nation. Under HeadCoach Chip Kelly, the Ducks have reached three consecutive BCS bowls, the onlyteam in the entire country to accomplish this feat.Statistical phenoms such as LaMichael James, DeAnthony Thomas, and John Boyett have rapidly vaulted up the school record books during the program’s recent ascension to the college football elite. With this recent pattern of success that the Ducks look to continue for some time, Oregon football’s record books should be seeing many fresh faces with each new cycle of athletes coming to Eugene to competealongside the nation’s best.Here are some of the top marks in the Oregon football record books; some long-standing, some recently re-written, and some under threat of being overrun by thenext generation of Ducks. All-Purpose Yards (Career) – Current Leader: LaMichael James, 5,869 (2009-2011)LaMichael James may have only just recently left the University of Oregon, but he will remain one of the greatest players to ever put on a Ducks uniform for years to come.James was one of the most exciting and explosive players in the history of college football, tallying a record 34 runs of at least 30 yards. He surpassed 200 all-purpose yards in nine different games throughout his career, and reached at least 150 total yards in 19 different games. After watching him play at such a high level for the last three years, it seems impossible that anyone could ever surpass his all-purpose yardage total of 5,869.DeAnthony ThomasEnter DeAnthony Thomas, a.k.a. the Black Mamba. The 5’9” 173-pound speedster tallieda jaw-dropping total of 2,235 all-purpose yards as a true freshman in 2011. Hewas the only player in the country to record more than 400 yards in rushing, receiving, and kick returns. Projecting his future production based on his first season, Thomas is on pace for 8,940 career all-purpose yards.Even if Thomas ends up deciding to take his talents to the NFL a year early, heis still on pace to crush the career record established by his predecessor with6,705 yards. The scary thing is that Thomas’ touches should only increase in 2012,meaning expectations are that he can improve on his freshman campaign, a tall o
rder for any player in the country let alone a 2nd year sophomore.With the departure of James, Thomas is expected to spend more time in the backfield in 2012, sharing carries with senior Kenjon Barner. He should still be valuable, however, catching passes out of the slot and in the return game as well. Receiving Yards (Career) – Current Leader: Samie Parker, 2,761 (2000-2003)Samie Parker was, at least statistically, one of the greatest receivers Oregon has ever seen. Not only are his career stats impressive, so too were his raw intangibles – he was one of the fastest athletes in Pac-10/12 history. Parker is the school’s current all-time leader in receiving yards and receptions, and his 16 catches against Minnesota in his final game at Oregon in 2003 remains the single-game record at the U of O.Until 2010, Parker alone held the school record for single-season receptions at77, but now that mark is shared with Jeff Maehl. Blessed with top-notch speed, he was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2004, playing for five different NFLteams, followed by stints in the CFL, AFL, and UFL.Looking at Parker’s 2,761-yard career total, it is hard to imagine any current Duck ultimately breaking that record any time soon, particularly under Chip Kelly’s high-octane run-first spread offense with so much focus on the running backs. Junior Josh Huff currently has the best chance to match Parker, but following a disappointing sophomore year he will need two stellar campaigns to approach Parker’snotch in the record books.Huff disappointed in 2011 with only 31 catches for 430 yards, and his career 733yards requires two 1,000-yard seasons to threaten the record, a total he has not come close to yet. Huff may also be held back some as a result of his own actions, possibly facing disciplinary repercussions for his off-season DUI charge.Even so, Huff has shown flashes of excellence in his first two years in Eugene,and it’s not ridiculous to think of him potentially eclipsing 1,000 yards receiving during each of the next two seasons should he remain healthy, able to focus onfootball, and if the coaches call his number often.There is only one ball to go around so competition remains fierce for who gets the opportunities to make a play, and the Ducks have a big group of young, but unproven talent. Redshirt freshmen Devon Blackmon, B.J. Kelley, and Tacoi Sumler will likely see a good amount of playing time in 2012, yet with no in-game experience it is difficult to gauge how much that potential can turn into production.Even so, while at first glance Parker’s numbers seem daunting, in reality an incoming freshman need only average 690.5 yards per season over a four-year career inorder to become Oregon’s new all-time leader in receiving yards. While that kindof consistency over a four-year career is rare, it is not beyond reason to thinkthat one of these young studs could achieve this. Passing Yards (Career) – Current Leader: Bill Musgrave, 8,343 Yards (1986-1990)Bill Musgrave was one of the best quarterbacks ever to play at Oregon, and his achievements go well beyond the numbers, as his impact on the program’s changing culture is immeasurable. His abilities didn’t have the wow factor of an Akili Smithor Joey Harrington, but he knew how to lead a team to victory.In Musgrave’s four-year career as Oregon’s starting quarterback, the Ducks didn’t record a single losing season. Musgrave’s biggest feat, however, may have been leading
the 1990 Ducks to a 32-16 victory over eventual Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmerand #4 ranked BYU.Bryan BennettOn the current roster, sophomore quarterback Bryan Bennett showed what he is capable of while Darron Thomas was injured in 2011, throwing for six touchdowns, 369 yards, and no interceptions. If Bennett were to win the starting job in 2012,he would still have three years of eligibility to attempt to surpass 8,343 career yards, meaning he would need to average 2,658 yards over those three seasons.To put this in perspective, Darron Thomas surpassed that total in both 2010 and2011. In Bennett’s limited play he has shown glimpses of being a potentially moreaccurate passer than Thomas, as has freshman wunderkind Marcus Mariota in his extremely limited play, throwing for 202 yards in the 2012 spring game.With little tangible evidence of their full abilities, it is difficult to estimate that either Bennett or Mariota could possibly threaten a 4-year starting passing legend like Musgrave. Still, Bennett would have three years as a starter tomatch the record, and Mariota would have four, requiring an average of only 2,086 yards through the air per year over those four seasons. Far more likely, the two talented quarterbacks may cancel each other out, splitting time on the field. Career Rushing Yards – Current Leader: LaMichael James, 5,082 (2009-2011)Rushing yards (Single-Season) – Current Leader: LaMichael James, 1,805 (2011)LaMichael James was by far Oregon’s best statistical running back ever. In only three years, he demolished Derek Loville’s career record of 3,296 yards, a record Loville set despite splitting carries with multi-talented fullback Latin Berry. Itappeared as though Loville, who played from 1986-1989, could be challenged by some of the successful four-year players that followed such as Sean Burwell, Jeremiah Johnson, or Terrence Whitehead, but injuries or splitting carries left allshort of Loville’s record until LaMichael James came along.In his first year in 2009, James racked up 1,546 yards and 14 touchdowns on hisway to making the Freshman All-American team. In 2010, James was a Heisman Trophy finalist and Oregon’s first Doak Walker Award winner, accumulating an astounding1,731 yards and 24 total touchdowns. Slowed somewhat in 2011 by injury, he still recorded a ridiculous school record of 1,805 yards on the ground, amassing a career total of 5,082 rushing yards in three years, nearly 2,000 more yards thanDerek Loville’s previous record.LaMichael JamesHad James decided to return for his senior year he would have almost certainly surpassed Charles White’s 6,245 yards to become the Pac-12’s all-time leading rusher.James was a special talent, and his record seems pretty safe…for the time being.Kenjon Barner is a rare find and a perfect fit for Oregon’s system as well, but the time spent backing up James leaves him with only one year as the primary starter. Barner has totaled 1,856 yards on the ground and 20 rushing touchdowns, leaving him far behind James on the all-time lists, but within reach of Loville’s record for #2. Barner would need to achieve an unprecedented total of 3,227 yards in2012 to eclipse James’ career total, averaging roughly 230 yards per game.He would only need 1,440 yards on the ground to match Loville’s total, however, anumber easily achieved by James in each of the last three seasons, putting the two teammates squarely at the top of the list.

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