A 247Sports graphic asking fans to rank the top four Oregon quarterbacks of all-time sparked debate on Twitter on Thursday. While Marcus Mariota and Justin Herbert seemed like obvious members to include in the group, one college football star was notably absent from the list.
Dennis Dixon, who played for the Ducks from 2004-07, was left out of the running despite having one of the most dominant senior seasons ever seen at Oregon. The Oakland native finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting, even after tearing his ACL with two games to go in the regular season.
When a Twitter user questioned if Dixon really was worthy of getting mentioned in the conversation about the best Oregon quarterback of all-time, Kirk Herbstreit ran to the defense of the former Ducks player.
“Dixon was SPECIAL!! Shame he got hurt. Ran that offense as well as anyone,” Herbstreit wrote.
Dixon was SPECIAL!!
Shame he got hurt. Ran that offense as well as anyone. https://t.co/mY8X2YcY90
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) June 10, 2021
Herbstreit responded to FOX Sports analyst and former NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, who also explained why the former Ducks quarterback is worthy of praise.
Schwartz played alongside Dixon at Oregon so he clearly got an up-close view of how great the former college star was.
“Dixon was on track to be a Heisman finalist. He’d have a good chance to win because we’d have finished the season 11-1 and in the BCS championship game if he didn’t get hurt. No one is overvaluing his one season. It was fantastic,” Schwartz wrote in a tweet.
Dixon was on track to be a Heisman finalist. He’d have a good chance to win because we’d have finished the season 11-1 and in the BCS championship game if he didn’t get hurt. No one is overvaluing his one season. It was fantastic. https://t.co/HL1lN3qVmz
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) June 10, 2021
Both Schwartz and Herbstreit are right to defend Dixon’s reputation. In 2007, the Ducks quarterback put up gaudy numbers, combining for 2,719 total yards and 29 touchdowns.
Simply put, Oregon wasn’t the same team without Dixon under center. The Ducks stumbled down the stretch and missed out on a potential opportunity to play in the BCS National Championship.
Whether Dixon should’ve been ranked over Mariota, Herbert or Joey Harrington is a different conversation but at the bare minimum, he deserves his flowers.