Byron Marshall was skeptical initially when running backs coach Gary Campbell laid out his plan last summer.

Marshall, who had rushed for 1,038 yards as a sophomore only months before, was being asked to move to receiver in a shift that would take advantage of his good hands, Oregon’s surplus of running backs and shaky depth at receiver.

But if Marshall was wary, he transformed into a receiving weapon over the course of the 2014 season, catching a team-leading 74 passes for 1,003 yards, along with six touchdowns, and along the way ensured no one — not even himself — doubted the move in hindsight.

Count the selection committee of the Biletnikoff Award, which honors college football’s best receiver, as another group that isn’t doubting Marshall’s credentials as a pass-catcher. The award named the Oregon Ducks senior from San Jose to its preseason watch list along with five other players from the Pac-12 Conference — including Oregon State’s Victor Bolden — on Wednesday. A winner is announced Dec. 10. Alabama’s Amari Cooper won last season.

Marshall’s big role at receiver in his first season after the switch isn’t expected to be a fluke. Oregon is the only team in Division I that can boast a returning receiving corps with four receivers who gained at least 600 receiving yards last season and Marshall headlines that list. In addition, the Ducks will add junior Bralon Addison, who missed the 2014 season with a knee injury, and touted freshmen Jalen Brown and Alex Ofodile into the mix this fall.

The award is named for former Florida State All-America receiver Fred Biletnikoff and is sponsored by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club. Any player at any position who catches a pass is eligible.

Previously this month, Marshall was named to the watch list for the Paul Hornung Award, which goes to the country’s most versatile player, along with teammate Charles Nelson.

No Ducks were named to the other watch list announced Wednesday, for the Wuerffel Trophy, which goes to the player who “best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”


Paul Hornung Award (most versatile)
Charles Nelson, sophomore all-purpose
Byron Marshall, senior WR

Bednarik (outstanding defensive player)
DeForest Buckner, senior DL

Maxwell Award (best player)
Royce Freeman, sophomore RB

Rimington Award (best center)
Matt Hegarty, senior C

Mackey Award (outstanding tight end)
Johnny Mundt, junior TE

Groza Award (outstanding kicker)
Aidan Schneider, sophomore K

Outland Trophy (outstanding interior lineman)
Tyler Johnstone, senior OT

Nagurski Trophy (outstanding defensive player)
DeForest Buckner, senior DT

Lombardi Award (outstanding lineman/linebacker)
DeForest Buckner, senior DL
Tyler Johnstone, senior OT

— Andrew Greif
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