Originally posted on The Duck Stops Here  |  Last updated 8/14/12

At the beginning and end of every season ESPN's PAC-12 blogger Ted Miller compiles a list of the top 25 players in the conference. His current list is up to #14, and so far it includes just one Duck, John Boyett at #16. It's an interesting list, but it's reduckulous that the three-time conference champions rarely appear on it. Either the Oregon coaching staff are miracle workers, or several Oregon players are seriously undervalued by the SEC-loving, Trojan-apologizing brain trust at ESPN.

We thought it would be fun to compile a list of the top 25 Ducks, realizing that it's a team game and every player is important:

1. De'Anthony Thomas

The most explosive player in college football, with over 2200 all-purpose yards and 18 touchdowns in his freshman year, including a 91-yard run in the Rose Bowl.

2. Kenjon Barner

This year's starting tailback has 1846 yards rushing and 26 career touchdowns, and he may equal those numbers in his senior season. Barner is a slasher who accelerates quickly, a very efficient runner who has good hands out of the backfield, as witnessed by his 54-yard touchdown catch in the Rose Bowl.

3. John Boyett

Boyett's a big-game player who has led the Ducks in tackles in two of his three seasons. He had 17 tackles in the Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin, 11 in the 2011 BCS Championship game against Auburn, and 12 versus Ohio State in 2010 Rose Bowl as a freshman.

4. Michael Clay

The senior linebacker, the quarterback of the Oregon defense, had 102 tackles last year, including 13 in the Rose Bowl and 12 against USC.

5. Dion Jordan

The Preying Mantis was Oregon's sack leader last season with 7.5. At 6-7, 243 he runs a 4.6 40 and has a 33.5 vertical leap. He's destined for a huge, dominating senior year rushing the quarterback.

 6. Jackson Rice

Oregon's senior punter and Ray Guy Award Finalist sported a 45.9 yard average last year with 17 of his 48 punts inside the 20 against 3 touchbacks. Rice's accuracy and consistency make him a potent weapon for the Oregon defense.

7. Kiko Alonso

MVP of the Rose Bowl, the 6-4, 242-lb. Alonso forms a fearsome tandem with Michael Clay in the middle of the Duck defense. With health, a solid year of experience and burgeoning leadership skills, Alonso's draft stock and productivity is likely to soar in 2012.

8. Josh Huff

The versatile and explosive Huff is healthy now after an injury-plagued 2011, in which he caught 31 passes for 430 yards. He worked very hard this off season on his hands and consistency, and could become Oregon's go-to receiver this season, entering it as their most experienced one.

9. Hroniss Grasu

The 6-3, 294 Grasu started every game as a redshirt freshman at center last season, a season that saw the Ducks rush for over 4000 yards while giving up just 14 sacks. Agile enough to pull on wide running plays, uncommonly poised and mature, Grasu anchors a veteran and deep offensive line that may be the Webfoot's biggest strength in pursuit of the fourth straight title.

10.  Carson York 11. Nick Cody 12. Jake Fisher

These three form the heart of the rest of that offensive line. Fisher is a budding superstar at left tackle, athletic and mobile, a former high school tight end who has blossomed to 6-6, 294.

13. Terrance Mitchell

Oregon's best cover corner played in all 14 games as a redshirt freshman last season, starting 12. He recorded 45 tackles, tops among cbs, with 10 pass breakups, 2 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles.

14. Bryan Bennett

15. Marcus Mariota

Quarterback IS the most important position in college football, but until one of these two win the job and show the consistency and comfort level necessary to do the job, they rate in the middle of this list. They're both athletic, fast, capable runners and good throwers, so it's likely by the end of the year one of them will rate in the top three on this poll. Bennett gets the edge RIGHT NOW because the results in fall camp are secret and he has 8 games experience.

16. Taylor Hart 17. Wade Keliikipi 18 Ricky Heimuli

19. Bo Lokombo

20. Rob Beard and Alejandro Maldonado (special mention to Drew Howell and Jeff Palmer

21. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

22. Troy Hill

23. Rahsaan Vaughn

24. Avery Patterson and Brian Jackson

25. the tight end

(Moves way up if Colt Lyerla gets healthy and up to speed with the offense. He has the potential to be a huge, gamebreaking weapon for Mark Helfrich and Tom Osborne.)

26. Bralon Addison, Arik Armstead, and Byron Marshall

27. Isaac Remington and Ryan Clanton

28. Kyle Long and Jared Ebert

29. Tyler Johnstone, Andre Yruretagoyena, James Euscher, Mana Greig, Hamani Stevens, Karrington Armstrong, EBIII, Jamal Prater

30. Erick Dargan, Derrick Malone, Dior Mathis, James Scales

31. Tyson Coleman, Rodney Hardrick, Tony Washington

32. Keanon Lowe, B.J. Kelley, Daryl Hawkins

33. Jake Rodriguez, Dustin Haines, Jeff Lockie

 

 

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