Now that we are halfway through the season, I thought I would take this chance to highlight some of the top players. Most of the names on this list are the usual suspects and for good reason. While there are players on the team whose roles go unnoticed on the stat sheet – for example, offensive linemen – I am sticking with the numbers on this one.
While Mitchell is touted as a high quality corner, it is usually Ekpre-Olomu who gets the media attention. Of the two corners, I have to put Mitchell on my list . . . for now. Through the first six games, Mitchell has accumulated 26 total tackles, 1 pass deflection, and most importantly, 3 interceptions. Last season teams were passing away from Mitchell; now they don’t know where to pass and Mitchell is taking advantage. Now all he needs to do is take one of his picks to the house!
Huff is finally having the year Oregon fans have been waiting for. He already has more yards receiving in six games than he has had for any previous season so far. Huff has caught 27 passes for 552 yards, and 5 touchdowns. That’s a 20.4-yard-per-catch average. He has also added 103 return yards and 27 rushing yards. Huff is on pace to be the first 1,000 yard receiver since Jeff Maehl. There was an injury scare for Josh in the Washington game that looked like it could have been season ending. How did Huff respond? Only by catching a 65-yard TD pass.
I must admit, I did not see Malone being the top linebacker for the Ducks. I figured Coleman and Lokombo would be the most likely candidates. However, it has been Malone stepping up to lead the team in tackles with 51 total tackles and 1.5 sacks. He is projecting to end the season with 100+ tackles. Malone doing his job well is pivotal for Oregon’s defensive backfield doing their job. Call me crazy, but I think Malone has at least one forced fumble he was not credited for on the stat sheet. Oregon is going to need Malone to continue dominating the defense and allowing the corners to play aggressively.
The top two players on my list are pretty obvious. Coming in at number two is Bralon Addison. Addison has caught 27 passes for 502 yards, and 6 touchdowns. He has also added 215 yards and 2 touchdowns in the return game, while toting the rock for a net of 11 rushing yards. To me Addison looks very De’Anthony-ish. The moves he makes sometimes – most of the time – makes you want to rewind and watch them again. There have been so many times that it looked like there were no yards to be gained, only for Addison to get 5 or 6. His punt return that went one way, then the other way, then another way was a perfect example of how dangerous Addison can be. I’m just happy he’s a Duck!
This one was a no-brainer. Mariota would be number one on anyone’s top player list – anyone with a brain and not drinking the SEC koolaid that is. Mariota has passed for 1,724 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Wait . . . what . . . ZERO interceptions!! Holy cow, he must be like, the most efficient QB in the nation . . . oh yeah, he is. Mariota holds the highest adjusted QBR rating of any signal caller in the FBS this year. Mariota has also added 426 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground. The Flyin’ Hawaiian heads almost every All-American list so far this season, and the Heisman is Mariota’s to lose. Honestly, they might as well engrave his name on it right now, because the only person who could beat Mariota would be . . . Mariota. How does it feel to have the best football player in the nation leading your team, Oregon fans?
So, there you have it folks. These are my top 5 Ducks halfway through the season. I am sure there are many names that people would add or subtract from this list. I would love to hear who you guys would add or drop. Who would be in your top 5, and why?