Through the years, the University of Oregon has produced some outstanding running backs. They are getting some recognition for it.
Many of them have advanced to the NFL, others haven't. However, there's still a slew of backs who had decorated careers in Eugene for the Ducks.
When it comes to college football as a whole, where do the Ducks stand with running backs? ESPN conducted something that can give a better look at where the Ducks are compared to other schools. The network created a list of individuals (an ESPN+ subscription is required to read the whole story).
The good news is that Oregon had three players included on the list: Royce Freeman, LaMichael James, and Mel Renfro.
Freeman came in at No. 63 on the list. James was ranked much higher, finishing at No. 30 on the list, and receiving some praise in the process. Renfro was also placed at No. 94.
Freeman, an Oregon school's all-time leading rusher, completed with 5,621 yards and 60 touchdowns during his Ducks tenure from 2014 to 2017.
James finished with 5,082 rushing yards and 53 touchdowns during his Ducks career from 2009 to 2011, ranking second on the rushing list.
Chip Kelly's Ducks beat them 34-6 from 2009-11, finishing in the top five twice and nearly winning the 2010 national championship. James was the face of those teams, rushing for at least 1,500 yards each year and scoring 24 times during the blessed 2010 run. An underrated superstar.
Renfro played both sides of the ball during his Ducks career from 1961 to 1963. He also played as a defensive back and running back in his career. In his career, he rushed for 1,540 yards and led the Ducks in scoring every season with the school.
Neither Freeman nor James have translated their college football experience to the NFL, but both were among the sport's greatest powerful and electrifying players. The recognition reveals the impact they had while in Eugene.
Renfro was on the verge of becoming one of only six players to be recognized in the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor as a defensive back. He finished his NFL career with ten Pro Bowl nominations and five All-Pro stints during his pro career. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.
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