Kenjon Barner recalls reaction to Oregon Ducks Hall of Fame announcement

Kenjon Barner’s career with the Oregon Ducks is interesting since his time spent in Eugene was mostly alongside legendary RB LaMichael James. When many fans think about the leading rusher on those Chip Kelly-era Duck teams, most think of No. 21 running the ball, though No. 24’s stats where right up there on the same level.

Although he was RB2 most of the time, Barner’s accomplishments and statistics don’t resemble anything of an RB2. He was one of the best running backs in Oregon history, sitting at No. 3 on Oregon’s all-time leading rusher’s list. This past year, Barner was duly recognized for those accolades by being inducted into the Oregon Athletic Hall of Fame.

It was a phone call that Barner wasn’t expecting, and won’t soon forget.

“I never gave it any thought. It was never on my mind that ‘I want to make the Oregon Hall of Fame,'” Barner said this week on the “Sco-ing Long Podcast” with Zachary Neel and Oregon legend Jonathan Stewart. “It just didn’t ever come to mind, for whatever reason. I didn’t play the game for an accolade like that to come. I just played the game because I loved it. There was no other reason. It wasn’t for the awards, I just loved playing the game.”

When Barner did get that call from Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens, he says that he couldn’t stop the emotions from coming out.

“I was on the freeway driving and I saw Rob (Mullens)’s number pop up on my phone, and I was like ‘why is the AD calling me, what did I do?'” Barner explained. “So I answered the phone, and when he said it, it was immediate tears. When I got that call, I broke down, I cried like a baby.”

Barner made plenty of opposing defensive coordinators cry in their car when trying to prepare for him and the Ducks’ explosive offense, so perhaps the setting was fitting. But the former Oregon tailback wasn’t thinking of himself when the news hit.

“It wasn’t just for me. It was the fact that everything that my mother, everything that my father, everything that my sister, everything that they financially sacrificed for me to be in the space that I was in at Oregon and thereafter, it was more for them, and that everything that they had done for me wasn’t done in vane,” Barner said.

After explaining that his dad never missed a college game of his, home or away, it’s clear how much the familial support helped him along his journey. While a lot of athletes who grew up in a troubled background claim that they are a rose that grew from concrete, Barner rather says that he is a rose that grew from a loving village.

“It’s an indescribable feeling,” Barner said. “And it’s something that I’m humbled by, something that I’m grateful for. And it’s something that I’ll be able to share with my family, my kids, and everybody else from here on after.”

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire