If Justin Herbert were to leave Oregon early for the NFL, the decision would have nothing to do with any struggles in the classroom.
The junior quarterback was named the academic All-America team member of the year for Division I football by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on Monday.
Herbert, a biology major, is carrying a 4.06 grade-point average and is the first Oregon football player to earn the national award since quarterback Bill Musgrave in 1990.
Overall, Herbert is just the sixth Oregon athlete to be a team member of the year in any sport, and the first since women’s track and field athlete Jordan Hasay was honored in 2013.
“It’s a really special award,” Herbert said in a news release. “I have to give thanks to all the people at the Jaqua Center who spend so much time with us and have given us so many great opportunities. I need to thank the rest of the team and the guys that push me. The competition is always great.”
On the field, Herbert was not included in the All-Pac-12 teams announced last week, despite passing for 2,985 yards with 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
The 6-foot-6, 237-pound former Sheldon High standout is still considered a first-round NFL draft prospect, although most observers believe he’s leaning towards returning for his senior season with the Ducks.
Herbert also claimed first-team All-America academic honors last season, which makes him the third Oregon player named to the first team in football in back-to-back seasons, along with offensive lineman Ryan Schmid (2000, 2001) and defensive lineman Nick Reed (2007, 2008).
"Justin leads by example in everything he does, and this honor is a testament to that,” coach Mario Cristobal said. “He epitomizes what it means to be a student-athlete with his ability to handle the demands of being a leader in our program and in the classroom.
“There’s no one more deserving of this honor than Justin Herbert, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Herbert and the Ducks will return to on Friday to begin preparing for the Redbox Bowl against Michigan State on Dec. 28 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. (noon, Fox).