Ngata Voted Oregon's Most Outstanding Player

EUGENE – Junior defensive tackle Haloti Ngata wsa named the University of Oregon's Most Outstanding Player and senior quarterback Kellen Clemens its Most Inspirational Player to highlight the school's annual football awards banquet Sunday afternoon at the Eugene Hilton.

The top honors, as voted by their teammates, were two of the 12 individual awards handed out to members of the 2005 football team which finished the regular season with Saturday's 56-14 win over Oregon State in Eugene.

Ngata, who is one of five finalists for the 2005 Bronko Nagurski Trophy for the nation's top defensive player, is fourth on the team in tackles with 59 and is second in the Pacific-10 Conference in tackles by a defensive lineman. The 6-5, 340-pound Salt Lake City, Utah, native posted a single-game high 11 tackles in this season's win over California. In addition, he ranked third on the team with nine tackles for losses, including three quarterback sacks, and was tied for second on the team in passes broken up with five.

Ngata becomes the Ducks' first defensive lineman in 18 years to claim the team's MVP honor, with nose tackle Rollin Putzier sharing the award in 1987, and the second consecutive junior to receive the acclaim. Tailback Terrence Whitehead was the recipient of last year's honor following his junior season.

Clemens was on pace to surpass most of Oregon's career passing records before suffering his season-ending ankle injury in the eighth game of the year at Arizona. Already surpassing single-season and career records for passing efficiency, his 61 career touchdown passes finished only one TD shy of equally the school record as he ended his collegiate career third on the program's all-time passing and total offense lists.

At the time of his injury, the Burns, Ore., standout ranked fifth in the country in total offense as the Pac-10 leader (329.3 avg,), and ninth in the nation in passing.

Additional honorees included junior linebacker Brent Haberly (Cottage Grove, Ore.) as Oregon's most improved player; redshirt freshman defensive back Patrick Chung as the recipient Len Casanova Award as the squad's top newcomer; senior Justin Phinisee (Compton, Calif.) as the team's outstanding special teams performer; senior tight end Tim Day (Las Vegas, Nev.) as the winner of the senior academic and attitude award and Bob Officer Award, given to the player who excels despite physical adversity or injury; seniors Terrence Whitehead (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Demetrius Williams (Pittsburg, Calif.) as co-recipients of the Duane Cargill Award for significant impact on the team as determined by the coaching staff; senior end Devan Long (Anacortes, Wash.) as the most outstanding defensive lineman; junior center Enoka Lucas (Honolulu, Hawaii) as the offensive lineman of the year; redshirt freshman offensive tackle Max Unger (Honaunau, Hawaii) as the standout who took part in the most plays; and junior offensive guard Palauni Ma Sun (Laie, Hawaii), who completed the most pancake blocks.

Oregon completed the regular season with a 10-1 record and awaits word on its destination of its ninth bowl game in 11 years.

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