Oregon’s flagship public university never runs out of fresh talent who exemplify great athletic skills at a young age. Lots of these graduates have excelled in playing for the University of Oregon before making it big in national sports tournaments and even in the Olympics. If you needed inspiration, these five professional athletes—or up-and-coming pros—are proof that you can count on an Oregon Duck to excel in various sports.
1. Cole Hocker
Cole Hocker is currently playing as an Oregon Duck, but this track and field star should never be underestimated because he’s already running as a pro. The middle and long-distance runner already flourished in the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships and the Nike Cross Nationals while he was still in high school. He accomplished a PR this year after covering 1500 meters in just 3 minutes and 35.28 seconds in the US Olympic Track & Field Trials. He is heading to the Tokyo Olympics this year, and you might just witness him break greater records.
2. Janie Reed
Another athlete that’s heading for the Tokyo Olympics is the former Oregon Duck star Janie Takeda Reed. Janie belongs to a family full of talented softball players, so she followed her sisters’ steps and forged her own path as a talented athlete. She moved from Placentia, California to Eugene to play for the University of Oregon, where she excelled well. In fact, this professional softball outfielder was awarded with three All-Pac-12 honors and achieved record-high hits, runs, doubles, and bases as an Oregon Duck! Since then, Reed became one of the most esteemed members of Team USA.
3. Payton Pritchard
Pritchard is an Oregon native who has been showing promising skills in basketball since his high school years. He already earned four state titles and was recognized as a four star-recruit by ESPN before joining the Oregon Ducks in August 2015. Pritchard was legendary as a Duck, and scored twenty-nine points and eight assists as a sophomore. In his senior year, he was one of the best in his league. The proof? Pritchard was able to make a 30-foot shot with just three seconds left! It’s no surprise that the Boston Celtics offered him a four year, $10-million contract in the very same year. Pritchard is also joining legends LeBron James and Kevin Durant as he recently signed a contract with Nike Basketball, so big things are happening for the young star. To honor his alma mater, he created Nike silhouettes with colorways that were inspired by the University of Oregon.
4. Chael Sonnen
UFC Superstar Chael Sonnen is also an Oregon native who started his love for martial arts at a young age. He learned how to wrestle at the age of nine and trained to box when he was nineteen. He was already promising when he became an Oregon Duck, since he earned honors from the Pac-10, Greco-Roman World University Championships, and the Dave Schultz Memorial International. Sonnen made his UFC debut in October 2005 and had a historical match against Anderson Silva in 2010. He announced his retirement from MMA in 2019.
5. Josh Huff
Before Josh Huff became a wide receiver for the Calgary Stampeders, he broke records as a football player for the Oregon Ducks. Josh Huff’s athletic career started in his high school in Texas, where he played along with running back Marion Grice. Once he got to college, he was able to accumulate more than 2,300 yards. This garnered him an honorable mention from the All-Pac-12 in his last two years. Since then, this University of Oregon alumni was signed to football leagues across the country.
These five alumni prove that the University of Oregon produces some of the country’s finest athletes. Oregon Ducks are able to excel in Track and Field, Softball, Basketball, MMA, Football, and many other sports.