Heisman Trophy Winner Mariota of Oregon to Enter NFL DraftErik Matuszewski
University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota will enter this year’s National Football League draft after a junior season in which he won the Heisman Trophy as college football’s most outstanding player and led the Ducks to the national championship game.
Mariota led Oregon to a 36-5 record over the past three seasons and set a National Collegiate Athletic Association record by throwing a touchdown pass in all 41 career starts.
Mariota has been projected by ESPN as the possible No. 1 pick in this year’s NFL draft. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans have the top two picks and both may be seeking help at quarterback after posting 2-14 records this season.
“It’s been an honor to watch Marcus develop over the last four years, and I’m excited to see what his future holds,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said in a statement. “He’s given this program everything we could have asked, and he’ll be the standard by which others are judged.”
Mariota had one year of football eligibility remaining after sitting out during his first year at Oregon. He’s finished his bachelor’s degree in general science, with an emphasis in human physiology.
Mariota and the Ducks went 13-1 this season before losing to Ohio State 42-20 in the inaugural College Football Playoff final two days ago. Mariota accounted for 58 touchdowns this season against only seven turnovers, becoming the first player at the sport’s highest level with a plus-50 ratio.
The 21-year-old Mariota, who is from Honolulu, passed for 4,454 yards, 42 touchdowns and four interceptions as a junior in becoming Oregon’s first Heisman Trophy winner. He also rushed for 770 yards and 15 scores.
“Being a part of this team was something special that I will always treasure,” said Mariota. A year ago, Mariota opted to return to school for his junior season instead of entering the NFL draft.
Last week, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston said he’d enter this year’s draft following two seasons with the Seminoles. Winston, who won the 2013 Heisman as a freshman, has been projected by ESPN as the second pick after Mariota.