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Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux Getting Heisman Hype Win At UCLA

Kayvon Thibodeaux celebrates a play during Oregon football vs. Cal.

EUGENE, OREGON - OCTOBER 15: Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux #5 of the Oregon Ducks reacts as Quarterback Chase Garbers #7 of the California Golden Bears looks on as time winds down late during the second half of the game against the California Golden Bears at Autzen Stadium on October 15, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won 24-17. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Kayvon Thibodeaux is among the favorites to go No. 1 in the 2022 NFL Draft, assuming he leaves Oregon after this season.

With another dominant performance in the books during today's win over UCLA, he's starting to get hype for some other major accolades. Some fans believe the star defensive end should be in New York at the end of the season for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

It's very difficult for a defensive player to win college football's top award. The last defense-first player to do so was Michigan's Charles Woodson back in 1997. Since then, just one non-quarterback or running back won the award: Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith last year.

However, there haven't been many obvious standout players this year. Two of the preseason favorites—Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler and Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei—have been benched at times this year. Rattler's job is probably gone, thanks to Caleb Williams' performance, and Uiagalelei was put on the bench tonight during Clemson's loss to Pitt. So, why not a defensive standout like Kayvon Thibodeaux, who leads one side of the ball for a team still in the playoff hunt?

Kayvon Thibodeaux missed time earlier this year, which may hurt his case. He was out for Oregon's signature win, over Ohio State.

When playing, however, he's been an absolute terror. In four games, he has 22 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, and four sacks. If he has more games like tonight's two-sack, 4.5 tackle for loss performance, where he very clearly inflicts a ton of damage on the opposing offense, we could start to hear the talks bubble up even more.

Oregon football's back in action next Saturday, against Colorado.