Heisman winner Marcus Mariota headlines a stacked lineup from the 2010s
Oregon football ran the gamut in the 2010s.
The decade opened with the Ducks revolutionizing offense en route to a perfect Pac-10 Conference campaign and appearance in the BCS Championship Game. Some folks still believe Michael Dyer was down.
The Ducks won three more conference championships in the decade, claimed a pair of Rose Bowls, and appeared in another national title game. Marcus Mariota became the first Heisman Trophy winner in program history, and one of his biggest fans — Eugene native Justin Herbert — ushered in a new decade emulating his predecessor in the Granddaddy of 'Em All.
With all the highs came a deep low in 2016 when the Ducks dipped to 4-8. But to book-end the decade in conference championships, it's fair to call the 2010s the greatest 10-year period in Ducks history. The following players helped shape it.
QB: Marcus Mariota (2012-14)
RB: LaMichael James (2009-11)
RB: Royce Freeman (2014-17)
AP: De'Anthony Thomas (2011-13)
WR: Josh Huff (2010-13)
WR: Bralon Addison (2012-15)
WR: Jeff Maehl (2007-10)
TE: Jacob Breeland (2015-19)
C: Hroniss Grasu (2011-14)
OL: Jake Fisher (2011-14)
OL: Tyler Johnstone (2011-15)
OL: Penei Sewell (2018-present)
OL: Calvin Throckmorton (2015-19)
DL: DeForest Buckner (2012-15)
DL: Jalen Jelks (2014-18)
DL: Kenny Rowe (2007-10)
DL: Dion Jordan (2008-12)
LB: Troy Dye (2016-19)
LB: Kiko Alonso (2008-12)
LB: Michael Clay (2009-12)
CB: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (2011-14)
CB: Arrion Springs (2014-17)
S: Erick Dargan (2011-14)
S: Eddie Pleasant (2007-11)
K: Aidan Schneider (2014-17)
P: Blake Maimone (2015-19)
RS: Cliff Harris (2009-11)
Toughest Position/Choice: Offensive Line
Few programs can boast the kind of sustained talent along its offensive line Oregon showcased throughout the decade. The 2019 team alone had four players who genuinely could make this team: Penei Sewell and Calvin Throckmorton did so, but leaving Shane Lemieux and Jake Hanson off was a difficult decision.
Hanson was vying for the same spot as Hroniss Grasu, however, one of the best collegiate centers in a generation. Kyle Long is also an intriguing option after becoming a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Where's Kenjon Barner?
Oregon's succession of running backs ranks among college football's most impressive. Coming on the heels of LaMichael James' remarkable tenure as the every-down back, from 2009 through 2011, the Ducks did not miss a beat with Barner.
His 2012 season stands as one of the most impressive for any Pac-12 running back in the 2010s but only ranks third-most impressive among Ducks rushers. What's more, Barner had just the one season as the primary ball carrier, while James and Royce Freeman both manned the role for a few years.
Key Stat: 1,805
In 2011, LaMichael James set an Oregon single-season rushing record with 1,805 yards. The mark didn't stand long. Royce Freeman in 2015 established a new program-best with 1,836 rushing yards, the standard that remains today.
— Written by Kyle Kensing, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a sportswriter in Southern California. Follow him on Twitter @kensing45.