Harrington, Matt Smith Tabbe Oregon's Most Outstanding Players

Nov. 19, 2000

EUGENE -- Junior quarterback Joey Harrington and senior linebacker Matt Smith shared the honors as the University of Oregon's 'most outstanding players' for the 2000 season as the Ducks held their annual football awards banquet Sunday evening at the Eugene Hilton.

The pair of Oregon natives were selected for the Hoffman Award, which is chosen annually in a vote by the recipients' teammates, as is the Gonyea Award for the Ducks' most inspirational player. That honor was bestowed upon senior defensive linemen Jason Nikolao and Saul Patu.

Patu also was honored with the Joe Schaffeld Trophy as the team's top defensive lineman.

Other honorees included junior tailback Maurice Morris as the recipient of the Len Casanova Award for the top newcomer, defensive tackle Jed Boice and center Jeff Austin as the recipients of the Clarke Award as the team's most improved players, outside linebacker Garrett Sabol and offensive lineman Lee Gundy for the Bob Officer Award, given to the player who plays the best despite physical adversity, senior Jermaine Hanspard with the Gordan E. Wilson Award as Oregon's special team's standout, junior Jim Adams as the squad's top offensive lineman, and kicker Dan Katz with the Elmer Sahlstrom Award as the player who possesses high academic average and exemplary attitude.

The following is a list of the award recipients and their accomplishments:

Hoffman Award (Most Outstanding Player)
Joey Harrington - The junior quarterback finished his first year as a full-time starter fourth on the school's single-season passing list and fifth in touchdowns, throwing for a Pacific-10 Conference high 2,694 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also led the conference in total offense, averaging 256.3 yards per game while running for six more scores. While leading Oregon to a 9-2 record and a share of the Pac-10 title, the Portland native threw for a personal-best 434 yards and a school record-tying six TDs at Arizona State.

Matt Smith - The senior middle linebacker led the Ducks in tackles (85) and fumble recoveries (3), in addition to sharing the lead in interceptions (4). He also ranked second on the team in tackles for losses (11-24 yards) and was third in passes broken up (8). The former Butkus Award semifinalist recorded 13 tackles at Arizona State while returning an interception 47 yards for a touchdown at Wisconsin.

Gonyea Award (Most Inspirational)
Jason Nikolao - The senior, who made the switch from defensive end to defensive tackle prior to the UCLA game, ranked second on the team with five sacks and had seven tackles for loss. He got a safety in the season opener against Nevada for Oregon's first points of the 2000 season. He showed perseverance by coming back from a partially torn MCL suffered in the Arizona State game to start the final two games of the season. He has 12 career sacks.

Saul Patu - The senior defensive end finished second on the team in tackles (61) while pacing the squad in quarterback sacks (11) and tackles for losses (19-85 yards). He ranks second on the school's career QB sacks chart (26.5) and has posted more tackles for losses (52-191 yards) than any other Oregon player since records were first made available in 1969.

Len Casanova Award (Top Newcomer)
Maurice Morris - The junior has gained more yards rushing than any first-year player ever at Oregon. His 1,106 yards rushing rank fifth on the UO single-season list, he is just the eighth 1,000-yard rusher in Duck history. He led Oregon in touchdowns with nine and ranks 26th nationally in rushing at 100.5 yards per game. Four 100-yard games this season, including a 139-yard effort versus UCLA that earned him Pac-10 player of the week honors. His 152 yards against Washington were the second-most ever allowed by the Huskies to a Duck back. He opened his career with a bang, rushing for a 66-yard touchdown on his first carry against Nevada.

Ed Moshofsky Award (Top Offensive Lineman)
Jim Adams - The two-year letterman has drawn a starting assignment in all 11 games this season. The junior offensive lineman was a key member of the line that allowed just 15 sacks this season and produced just the eighth 1,000-yard rusher (Maurice Morris) in school history.

Joe Schaffeld Award (Top Defensive Lineman)
Saul Patu - See Gonyea Award

Dudley Randolph Clarke Memorial Award (Most Improved)
Jeff Austin - A squad player the first four years of his career, Austin blossomed into a key player his final season in the Green and Yellow. The senior center was one of the main reasons the Oregon allowed just 15 sacks on the season and helped Maurice Morris gain more than 1,000 yards rushing.

Jed Boice - A three-year letterman, Boice took on his role as a starting defensive tackle with a passion not seen in his previous years. He had 23 tackles and six tackles for loss, but his biggest play of the season was the blocked field goal at Washington State that gave the Ducks a come-from-behind overtime victory.

Bob Officer Award (Playing his Best Despite Physical Adversity)
Lee Gundy - The most experienced Duck offensive lineman, Gundy manned his tackle position every game and helped Maurice Morris rush for more than 1,000 yards. He and his line mates only allowed 15 sacks this season as quarterback Joey Harrington threw for more than 2,600 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Garrett Sabol - Undersized, but one of Oregon's bravest warriors nonetheless, Sabol tied for third on the team in tackles with 56. The senior linebacker had nine tackles for loss and three sacks. He keyed the defense in the UCLA win with a team-best eight tackles to go with two tackles for loss and a sack. Despite playing with almost constant injuries, Sabol appeared in a remarkable 43 of 45 possible career games.

Gordon E. Wilson Award (Top Special Teams Player)
Jermaine Hanspard - One of the most personable Ducks, the senior cornerback contributed on all four kicking special teams. He had 11 tackles this season and returned eight kickoffs for 153 yards. He also made his mark on defense, intercepting Washington's last second desperation pass to seal that victory.

Elmer Sahlstrom Award (High Academic Average and Exemplary Attitude)
Dan Katz - The senior kicker has handled all of Oregon's kickoffs in 2000. He made his lone PAT in the Nevada game. He was also named to the Verizon District VIII All-Academic second team.

-- UO --

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