oregon sports

The 5 players I wish still played football for the Oregon Ducks

And one I don’t…

Autzen Stadium has played host to many great Oregon Ducks, but if you could bring back one player to wear the green and yellow jersey next season, who would you choose?

5) Walter Thurmond III, CB

Walter Thurmond (now with the Seahawkscould have gone down as one of the greatest defensive backs in Oregon football history had it not have been for his injury-plagued college career.

Battling injuries in 2008, Thurmond was able to match his total of five interceptions from the season before.

Then in 2009—his final season with the team—the star cornerback encountered a season-ending knee injury during the opening kickoff of the third game of the year.

A big-play threat on seemingly every possession, Oregon could use a player of Thurmond’s caliber in their run at another BCS title appearance in 2012.

4) Dennis Dixon, QB

The former Oregon quarterback only spent a brief time as a starter with the Ducks, but that’s exactly why it would be such a treat to see Dennis Dixon back in a green and yellow uniform.

Oregon Ducks

All of these players would still look great in the new Oregon uniforms.

Dixon split time with fellow quarterback Brady Leaf as a starter throughout the 2005 and 2006 seasons, but finally won the job to himself in 2007.

Having led his team to an 8-1 start and the No. 2 ranking in the country, Dixon had thrown 20 touchdowns to just four interceptions—he also rushed for nine touchdowns and 583 yards—before tearing his ACL in the first quarter at Arizona.

A favorite in many circles to win the Heisman Trophy that year, Dixon still received 17 first-place votes despite sitting the final three games and missing a majority of the contest against Arizona.

3) Haloti Ngata, DL

The Ducks have been known primarily for their speed over the past few seasons, but every good football team needs size up front, and that’s exactly what Haloti Ngata gives you.

At 6’4”, 330 pounds, Ngata is one of the most dominant forces on the defensive line that the Ducks have ever seen.

Able to bench press 495 pounds—the second most in Oregon history—he was the program’s first All-American selection in 43 years after recording 107 tackles—17.5 for loss—and 6.5 sacks between 2004 and 2005.

Ngata did more than just tackle, though, as he was able to record an incredible seven blocked kicks throughout his three years with the Ducks.

Having been one of the most dominant players in program history, Ngata was selected 14thoverall by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2006 NFL draft, and has continued his dominance at the next level.

2) Jonathan Stewart, RB

Jonathan Stewartwas the perfect combination of size and speed to excel in Oregon’s spread offense. A threat to score as a running back, receiver or kick returner, Stewart uses his 5’10”, 235-pound frame to bulldoze opponents and speed past them on a regular basis.

Joey Harrington

What true Ducks fan wouldn’t want to see Joey Harrington back in an Oregon uniform?

LaMichael James may own most of the rushing records at Oregon, but with the size to compete against the likes of the SEC and other non-conference opponents, Stewart is one player the Ducks could have certainly used in their national championship run just two seasons ago.

1) Joey Harrington, QB

What true Ducks fan wouldn’t want to see Joey Harrington back in an Oregon uniform? Having gone 25-3 throughout his career with the Ducks, Harrington recorded 59 touchdowns and 6,911 yards through the air, as well as 18 touchdowns on the ground at Oregon.

His best game as a Duck arguably came in his final game wearing the uniform, as he threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-16 Fiesta Bowl victory over the Colorado Buffaloes.

Despite incredible play year after year, Harrington may be best known for the Heisman campaign that landed him a billboard in Times Square deeming him “Joey Heisman.” He went on to finish fourth in the Heisman voting.

One of the all-time great quarterbacks in Oregon history, Harrington will always be known as a fan favorite at Autzen Stadium and around the University of Oregon campus.

Bonus Selection—One Duck who can stay away for good:

Cliff Harris, CB

Cliff Harris will probably go down as one of the biggest wastes of talent in Oregon Ducks history.

Having had the opportunity to be one of the greatest defensive backs in the nation, Harris threw it all away with his off-the-field troubles and was eventually removed from the program following multiple suspensions.

It was sad to see such talent kicked off the team, but it was also a major relief knowing that the headache of wondering what would happen next was finally over.

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About Bryant Knox

NWSB Editor. Portland native and Oregon graduate, On a non-stop mission to consume as much Ducks+Trail Blazers content as humanly possible. His love of sports is what attracts him to the game, passion for writing drives him to uncover the stories. Connect w/ Bryant today!
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  • BackToTheNatty

    Joey wouldn’t be a good fit for Chip’s spread. I would replace him, and put Patrick Chung on that list. Or maybe bring back Igor Olshansky to be along side Haloti!

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