Onterrio Smith Named Oregon's Outstanding Player

Nov. 24, 2002

EUGENE - Junior tailback Onterrio Smith, who, along with Bobby Moore (Ahmad Rashad), rushed for 1,000 yards faster than any other player in school history, was named the University of Oregon's most valuable player at the Ducks' annual football awards banquet Sunday afternoon at the Eugene Hilton.

Smith was awarded the Hoffman Award as Oregon's 'most outstanding player' as determined in a vote by his teammates, as is the Joe Gonyea Award for the team's 'most inspirational player.' That honor was bestowed upon senior defensive end Seth McEwen.

Smith, who became only the second player in school history to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing in two separate seasons, accumulated 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games this season before a knee injury against USC limited his effectiveness the remainder of the regular season. The Sacramento, Calif., standout would run for only 64 more yards the rest of the year, missing three of the next four games, and completed the regular season with 1,079 yards (119.9 avg.).

The Pacific-10 Conference's second-leading rusher ranked sixth in the country in rushing (133.7 avg.) and 11th in scoring (10.3 avg.) after seven games this year, and has been chosen as one of 10 finalists for the Walter Camp Player-of-the-Year Award.

He becomes only the ninth Oregon underclassman to received the team's MVP award since it was established in 1939, and the second in three years. Quarterback Joey Harrington was co-recipient of the award for the first time as a junior following the 2000 season before repeating the honor a year ago.

McEwen completed the regular season with 25 tackles, including two quarterback sacks, along with a season-high five tackles against both Stanford and Oregon State. The Medford three-year starter, who also recovered a fumble in this year's opener vs. Mississippi State in addition to blocking a field goal against Stanford, earned the team's Bob Officer Award for significant contributions despite physical adversity at last year's banquet.

Additional award recipients included senior punter Jose Arroyo (Van Nuys, Calif.), who was awarded the Elmer Sahlstrom Award as the senior with a high academic average who has demonstrated exemplary attitude; Joey Forster (Salem) with the Bob Officer Award as player who provides significant contributions toward the success of the program despite physical adversity; Kevin Mitchell (Orange, Calif.) with the AD Art Iron Man Award for the player accumulating the most playing time; Haloti Ngata (Salt Lake City, Utah) with the Len Casanova Award as the Ducks' top newcomer; Igor Olshansky (San Francisco) with the Joe Schaffeld Trophy as the team's most outstanding defensive lineman; Jared Siegel (Sacramento, Calif.) with the Gordon Wilson Award as Oregon's outstanding special team's player; Smith with the Duane Cargill Award as the program's most outstanding running back; Dan Weaver (Redmond) with the Ed Moshofsky Award as Oregon's offensive lineman of the year; and George Wrighster with the Clarke Trophy as the team's most improved player.

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

Onterrio Smith
Hoffman Award (Most Outstanding Player), Duane Cargill Award (Most Outstanding Running Back)
The Sacramento, Calif., tailback and Ducks' leading rusher ran for 1,079 yards to become only the second player in school history to twice eclipse the 1,000-yard pinnacle in a single season. Ranked 15th in the country in rushing (119.9 avg.), Smith established a school record by running for 100 yards or more in the first seven games of the season. He ranks sixth on Oregon's single-season rushing chart while his 2,137 career yards rates seventh all time in only 21 games. In addition, his 12 touchdowns is tied for third on the school's one-year rushing TDs chart. Smith ran for a season-high 172 yards vs. Arizona State after setting the Ducks' single-game rushing record with 285 yards on the ground at Washington State a year ago.

Seth McEwen
Joe Gonyea Award (Team's Most Inspirational Player)
The three-year starter completed the regular season with 25 tackles, including two quarterback sacks, along with a season-high five tackles against both Stanford and Oregon State. The Medford standout, who also recovered a fumble in this year's opener vs. Mississippi State in addition to blocking a field goal against Stanford, earned the team's Bob Officer Award for significant contributions despite physical adversity at last year's banquet.

Haloti Ngata
Len Casanova Award (Team's Top First-Year Player)
Completing the regular season as Oregon's eighth-leading tackler (39), he recorded a single-game best seven tackles vs. Oregon State and Idaho as a true freshman while starting his last eight games. Ngata also tied for the team lead in blocked kicks, rejecting PATs vs. UCLA and Washington State in addition to deflecting a field goal against USC.

Jose Arroyo
Elmer Sahlstrom Award (Senior Academic/Exemplary Attitude)
He improved his punting average to 41.5 yards per kick after averaging 42.7 yards per punt over the course of his last 10 games. Arroyo has played a big role in leading the Ducks to 13th in the country and first in the conference in net punting (37.10 avg.) as a team. He recorded a personal-best 61-yard punt this year at UCLA and averaged 48.5 yards on two punts vs. Stanford. Earlier named a second-team academic all-conference selection, he has accumulated a 3.18 grade-point average while majoring in business administration.

Igor Olshansky
Joe Shaffeld Trophy (Team's Top Defensive Lineman)
Completing the regular season as the Ducks' fifth-leading tackler (60), he has posted 10 tackles in each of his last two games against Washington and Oregon State. In addition, he ranks third on the team with eight tackles for losses of 27 yards. Displaying the versatility to play both defensive end and tackle, Olshansky intercepted a pass and returned it 37 yards against Idaho.

Dan Weaver
Ed Moshofsky Award (Team's Top Offensive Lineman)
One of the team's most consistent offensive linemen in recent memory, he was chosen as Oregon's offensive player of the week in wins over Arizona and Idaho after grading out as the team's top offensive lineman in eight of 12 games this year. Included on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded to the nation's top collegiate center, the two-time first-team academic all-conference selection was also chosen to the Verizon Academic All-District team last week.

Jared Siegel
Gordon Wilson Award (Team's Outstanding Special Teams Player)
Has connected on 19 of 23 field goals this season to tie for seventh in the country in field goals made per game (1.58 avg.) as well as ranks 21st in the country in scoring (8.67 avg.) -- seventh among kickers. Previously setting the school record with 15 straight successful field goals, including a 59-yard field goal at UCLA which tied a league mark for the longest field goal in a conference game, he has been selected as one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award, which is awarded to the nation's top place-kicker. Siegel also was voted a first-team Verizon Academic All-District selection with a 3.58 gpa in business administration.

George Wrighster
Clarke Award (Team's Most Improved Player)
His 36 catches stand only four shy of the school record for most receptions by an Oregon tight end in one season. Wrighster ranks among the nation's top 10 in catches by a tight end (36 catches for 534 yards and six touchdowns) as the team's second-leading receiver accumulated two TDs in his starting debut against Mississippi State. He recorded a collegiate-best five receptions at UCLA as well as 104 yards vs. Arizona State.

Joey Forster
Bob Officer Award (Provides Major Contribution Despite Physical Adversity)
Forster has extended his string of consecutive starting assignments to 27 games while accumulating 33 appearances in the opening lineup over the past three seasons. Earning honorable mention all-conference honors a year ago, he has served as the Ducks' only player to open all 12 games at the same position each of the past two seasons.

Kevin Mitchell
Ad Art Iron Man Award (Most Playing Time)
Oregon's second-leading tackler (99) recorded a season-best 16 tackles against USC earlier this season. Mitchell also leads the team in tackles for loss (9.5) and quarterback sacks (6) for a second straight season. The 2001 honorable mention all-conference pick returned an interception 20 yards for his first collegiate touchdown at Washington State two weeks ago.

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