Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks

Oregon senior linebacker Troy Dye feels bad for some Duck fans. With his broken right thumb (suffered in Oregon’s win at Washington) in a cast, his left-handed autographs are hardly legible. Then again, maybe that makes them more unique.

You can barely read it. I felt bad because I was signing some autographs and I was like, man, they will not be able to understand that's my autograph, but it'll be like a real authentic left hand Troy Dye signature that only happened for six days. –Troy Dye said ahead of the Rose Bowl.

While Dye’s cast has made tying his cleats, washing his back and putting his jersey on much more difficult… His treatment is progressing as planned. Dye has a new perspective on the importance of being able to move your dominant thumb. The Southern California-Native has his right hand back in time for the biggest game of his Duck career, the 106th Rose Bowl vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3) on Jan. 1 at 2 p.m.

The “Granddaddy of them All” will be Dye and the rest of the senior class’ Oregon Duck finale and a chance to earn their most substantial win in green and yellow. A victory over the Big Ten opponent would give the Pac-12 Champion Ducks 12 wins this season and scratch out another bucket list item for Dye’s sensational senior season.

 

Man, I'll tell you what, I look back and it was totally worth it coming back for this senior season because there's moments that I've created and there's relationships that I've built over this past 11 months that are unbreakable and there's things that I've done that you can't take back: Undefeated at home, winning the Pac-12 Championship, beating Stanford and Washington on the road, USC on the road, it's great to check those things off the bucket list and just keep moving forward and there's one more to go, try to just finish off strong to a strong beginning. -Troy Dye

Flashback to a beautifully crisp winter day and Oregon’s win over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Then-junior Troy Dye hoisted his defensive MVP trophy in the air as fans congratulated Oregon’s leading tackler for three-straight seasons on possibly his last victory in a Ducks uniform.

It wasn’t. Despite gaining traction as a “freak athlete” in NFL circles with an opportunity to make major money in the 2019 NFL draft, Dye chose to stay at Oregon for his senior season.

360 days later, Dye is still leading No. 6 Oregon in tackles, has jumped up to a projected first round 2020 NFL draft selection and has the opportunity to be hoisting a more prestigious trophy in the air in his actual final season.

In 2019, Dye’s senior tour has featured 75 tackles with 9.5 for loss including 2.5 sacks, six pass breakups and two interceptions on one of Oregon’s strongest defenses in history.

His stats are mostly down from his first three seasons, in large part to the large amount of playmakers alongside Dye this season. And he’s okay with that.

No one is trying to be a super hero out there, no one is trying to be superman, make every play… It doesn't matter what my stats look like, as long as we're winning games I don't really care. I'm a team guy. I think I'm probably going to have one of my best years, but the stats don't show that, but I don't really care what the stats say because at the end of the day, shoot, we only lost two games. If you told me that my freshman year I would have told you you were crazy. –Troy Dye

As a freshman in 2016, Dye played on a team that finished 4-8 and left out of a bowl game. Now, Dye is leading a 11-2 team and only 12 tackles away from reaching 400 career tackles in front of his home crowd. Before he plays in the 2020 senior bowl, the Ducks are counting on his leadership as they prepare for their biggest challenge of the season.

 

We've been able to get to where we are today with great leaders like Troy… I think when Troy speaks, guys listen. Troy's played a lot of football here done a lot of things at the university. Leaders, number one, have to have credibility because of how they do things and how they work and obviously Troy's credibility is high and that speaks to what he's done. –Defensive coordinator Andy Avalos

A moment that seems so long ago now, in his final home opener, the smiling linebacker danced alone to familiar tune of “Shout”, letting loose and pumping up the rowdy crowd in a moment that won’t soon be forgotten.

On Jan. 1, Dye has a chance to etch his name deeper into Oregon history and cap off a senior season he is not sorry he returned for.