EUGENE – Senior linebacker Casey Matthews, as well as sophomores LaMichael James and Darron Thomas, were honored as the University of Oregon’s Most Outstanding Players at the school’s annual awards banquet Sunday afternoon at the Eugene Hilton.
In addition, senior quarterback Nate Costa was voted the team’s Most Inspirational Player.
Recipients of both awards were determined in a vote by the Oregon players.
For James, it marks the second time in as many years the All-America running back has shared the team’s regular season-ending MVP honor and the fifth time a player has claimed the award (and first since QB Joey Harrington in 2000 and ’01 seasons) on multiple occasions.
The national rushing (152.9 avg.) and scoring (12.0 ppg) leader has run for 1,682 yards this season – 40 yards shy of equaling Jonathan Stewart’s single-season school rushing record (1,722) – and increased his school record for most touchdowns in a single-season to 22.
Thomas has completed 195 of 321 passes for 2,518 yards this season, with the first-year starting quarterback’s 28 touchdown strikes standing only four scoring passes shy of Akili Smith’s 1998 single-season school record.
Matthews heads into his final game as a collegian as Oregon’s leading tackler (73) and shares the lead in the Pacific-10 Conference in fumble recoveries (3).
Costa has been acknowledged as one of the team leaders as the reserve quarterback and extraordinary holder on kicks was lost for the season with his fourth knee injury in the Ducks’ ninth game of the season vs. Wash-ington. He completed the year completing 25 of 33 passes for 286 yards and one touchdown in addition to reaching the end zone two other times on 20 carries (138 yards).
In addition, freshman wide receiver Josh Huff was honored with the Len Casanova Award, given to the team’s first-year player who best exemplifies the athletic ideals of team inspiration and outstanding performance as the University’s former head football coach and athletics director, Len Casanova.
Additional team honorees include senior center Jordan Holmes as the recipient of the Elmer Sahlstrom Award in recognition for his academics and attitude; senior wide receiver Jeff Maehl with the Duane J. Cargill Me-morial Award as the team most outstanding offensive skill position player; senior Bryson Littlejohn with the Gordon E. Wilson Award as the Ducks’ outstanding special teams player; senior defensive tackle Zac Clark and junior defensive end Terrell Turner as co-recipients of the Dudley Clarke Memorial Award as Oregon’s most improved players; senior offensive lineman C.E. Kaiser with the Bob Officer Award, presented to the player who excels in spite of physical adversity; senior defensive tackle Brandon Bair with the Joe Schaffeld Trophy as the team’s outstanding defensive lineman; and senior offensive lineman Bo Thran as a repeat reci-pient of the Oregon Club of Portland Outstanding Offensive Lineman award, as well as the Pancake Club Award for knocking down the most opposing defensive linemen.
Seniors D.J. Davis and Spencer Paysinger were recipients of the Todd Doxey Award, given to the player who exemplifies the traits of dedication associated with being outstanding teammates, and qualities possessed by the Ducks’ former defensive back who drowned prior to the start of the 2008 season.
In addition, redshirt freshmen Dane Ebanez and Chad Delaney were acknowledged for their contributions as the season’s offensive and special teams Scout Team Players of the Year, respectively, while junior Blake Thompson was named defensive Scout Team Player of the Year.
Oregon completed an unbeaten 12-0 season and a second consecutive Pac-10 Conference title with Satur-day’s 37-20 win at Oregon State.
-- GoDucks.com --
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