Buckner, Freeman Share Oregon Football Team’s MVP Honors

As reported by goducks.com

EUGENE – The University of Oregon senior defensive end DeForest Buckner was voted the Ducks’ Most Outstanding Defensive Player (Skeie’s Award) while sophomore running back Royce Freeman was named the school’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player at its annual football awards reception Saturday in Autzen Stadium’s Club at Autzen.

It addition, Buckner was voted as the team’s Most Inspirational Player (Wilford Gonyea Award) as well as being chosen as the program’s outstanding defensive lineman (Joe Schaffeld Trophy).

Recipients of the MVP and Most Inspirational awards were determined in a vote by their Oregon teammates.

Freeman completed the regular season rushing for 1,706 yards and 14 touchdowns to move within 99 yards of equaling Oregon’s single-season record for most yards on the ground. LaMichael James ran for 1,805 yards as a junior in 2011. In addition, the Imperial, Calif., standout eclipsed the school standards with his eighth-consecutive 100-yard effort yesterday against Oregon State (167 yards) and 10th overall game over the century mark in one season.

His 16 career outings of 100 yards or more trails only James’ 26 100-yard outings, as does his 142.2 per game rushing average. His 3,071 career yards currently ranks fourth on the Ducks’ all-time rushing list.

Buckner ranks as Oregon’s second-leading tackler in 2015 (76) and stands among the league’s leaders in tackles-for-loss (16 for minus 82 yards) and quarterback sacks (9.5).

It marks the second year in a row that Buckner has been named the program’s top defensive lineman and the first back-to-back honoree since Taylor Hart received dual honors in 2012 and ‘13.

Senior linebacker Rodney Hardrick was presented with the Todd Doxey Award as well as the Bob Officer Award. The former honor is 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. The latter award is presented to the player who excels in spite of physical adversity.

Senior offensive lineman Matt Hegarty 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 athletics director, Len Casanova. He also received the Pancake Club Award for knocking down the most opposing defenders. Hegarty transferred from Notre Dame and started all 12 regular-season games at center as a graduate transfer.

Additional team honorees included sophomore running back Kani Benoit as the winner of the of the Dudley Clarke Memorial Award as Oregon’s most improved player; Tyler Johnstone as the recipient of the Ed Moshofsky Trophy as Oregon’s outstanding offensive lineman; senior quarterback Vernon Adams with the Duane J. Cargill Memorial Award as Oregon’s outstanding offensive impact player as determined by the coaching staff; senior outside linebacker Tyson Coleman with the Gordon E. Wilson Award as Oregon’s Outstanding Special Teams Player; and senior tight end Koa Ka’ai as the winner of the Elmer Sahlstrom Award as the senior maintaining an outstanding academic record who has demonstrated an exemplary attitude and tremendous contributions.

In addition, junior J.J. Jones and freshman Drayton Carlberg were acknowledged for their contributions as the program’s offensive and defensive Scout Team Players of the Year, respectively, while redshirt freshman Taylor Stinson was named special teams Scout Team Player of the Year.

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