This was the most criminally underrated unit for Oregon in 2011, despite the lack of representation from the O line on the all-conference team. Drop end Dion Jordan did garner all-conference honors, but the Ducks also got outstanding play from the other seven guys in the regular rotation.
• Matt Hayes of The Sporting News posted his top 25 preseason teams and has Oregon at #4.
Why they’re here: Until someone in the Pac-12 figures out how to stop Oregon’s spread option offense—and until coach Chip Kelly stops recruiting the fastest players in the game—the Ducks are the elite of the conference. A soft nonconference schedule helps, too (Arkansas State, Fresno State, Tennessee Tech).
• The Heisman Pundit has De'Anthony Thomas at #5 on their pre-spring 2012 Heisman watch list.
Thomas might’ve benefitted from the best postseason spring-board of this whole bunch, as he rushed for 155 yards on two carries against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Thomas has the ability to win the Heisman based on the excitement factor alone. Voters love multi-purpose athletes.
• Josh White @FishDuck.com has a nice story on John Boyett and the other great Duck safeties. Josh wonders where he will rank among the other greats when his career at Oregon has come to an end.
What makes him so good? Well, Boyett does a little of everything. He combines keen ball-hawking skills in pass coverage with the ability to also be the punishing enforcer over the middle, stop the run, and he can cut-tackle like a torpedo in the open field. With what he has accomplished to this point, in just about every way it can be measured, John Boyett is already among the best in Oregon history at his position. When it is all said and done, will he finish his career as THE best safety?