Dixon Oregon's Most Outstanding Player

EUGENE – Senior quarterback Dennis Dixon was honored as the University of Oregon's Most Outstanding Player while linebacker A.J. Tuitele was voted the Most Inspirational Player at the football team's annual awards banquet Sunday afternoon at the Eugene Hilton.

The recipients of the top two team awards were voted on by their teammates, with Dixon representing the first Oregon quarterback to claim the program's top honors since Joey Harrington did so following the 2001 season.

The vote came as little surprise has he directed the Ducks to an 8-1 record and a No. 2 national ranking while healthy before succumbing to a knee injury during the 10th game of the season that would force him to miss the remainder of the season.

Dixon, who is one of three finalists for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback award (nation's top quarterback) as well as the Maxwell Award (nation's top player), capped a remarkable year completing 172 of 254 passes for 2,136 yards, 20 touchdowns and only four interceptions. In addition, he ran for 583 yards and nine TDs to finish second on the school's single-season list for most rushing yards by an Oregon quarterback, while his 1,210 career yards on the ground were the most ever by a Ducks' signal caller.

The San Leandro, Calif., senior also established school records for the top completion percentage in one season (67.7%) and career (63.9%).

He will depart for New York City Monday to receive a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete award in addition to being a Draddy Award finalist. The Draddy Award is given to the nation's top collegiate football player who combines athletic success, academic achievement as well as community leadership.

Tuitele, who was voted by his teammates as one of his team's four season-long captains prior to the start of the season, started the Ducks' first five games before missing their next five contests with a foot injury. At the time of his injury, the Wilmington, Calif., senior was Oregon's fifth-leading tackler (21) before posting one stop a week ago at UCLA and four tackles and recovering one fumble in Saturday's 38-31 double-overtime loss to Oregon State.

Additional honorees included sophomore defensive end Will Tukuafu as the recipient of the Len Casanova Award (first-year player who best exemplifies the ideals of competitiveness, team inspiration and outstanding performance); senior free safety Matthew Harper and junior linebacker Jerome Boyd as the team's most improved players (Clarke Award); junior Patrick Chung as Oregon's outstanding special teams player (Gordon E. Wilson Award); junior Max Unger as the outstanding offensive lineman (Ed Moshofsky Award); junior defensive end Nick Reed as the top defensive lineman (Joe Schaffeld Award); junior running back Jonathan Stewart for impact by a skilled position player (Duane Cargill Award); and long snapper Eric Steimer as the senior academic/attitude award (Elmer Sahlstrom Award).

In addition, true freshmen David Paulson and Terrance Pritchett, as well as redshirt freshman Brian Butterfield, were acknowledged as the year's top scout team contributors.

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