Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota, a redshirt sophomore from St. Louis High School (Honolulu, Hawaii), enters his third season in the Oregon program.
Before joining the Ducks, Mariota was a relatively unknown player. While he earned four stars from 247Sports, he was only given three stars by Rivals and Scout and just two stars by ESPN. As a senior he completed 165-of-255 passes for 2,597 yards (64.7%) and 32 touchdowns to just five interceptions while also rushing 60 times for 455 yards (7.6 YPC) and seven additional touchdowns. He was named Interscholastic League of Honolulu Offensive Player of the Year and All-ILH first team quarterback. He was titled “Fastest Man” and “Combine King” at a prep camp prior to his commitment to the Ducks.
In 2011, Mariota sat out the season while a member of the scout team. He excelled in practice, earning high praise from coaches and made the travel squad as team’s No. 3 quarterback.
In 2012, Mariota did this that and everything while guiding the Ducks to a Fiesta Bowl victory and earning first-team all-Pac-12 honors. He finished the season 230-of-336 (68.5%) through the air with 32 touchdowns to just six interceptions. He also rushed the ball 106 times for 752 yards (7.1 YPC) with five touchdowns. And on top of that, he may have been a part of the play of the year with a two-yard touchdown catch from Bryan Bennett.
Mariota competed in the 2013 Oregon Spring Game, going 13-of-19 for 165 yards and two touchdowns while sitting early to allow the two youngsters Jeff Lockie and Jake Rodrigues to compete for the backup job.
Going into the 2013 season, Mariota’s job is a lock, which is a huge difference from a year ago. Now he’ll have a bigger target on his back, but he should be primed for an All-American and possibly Heisman season.
The biggest worry for Ducks fans won’t be if Mariota will be great this season, but rather if he’ll be too good. The redshirt sophomore is NFL eligible and could leave early should he put up monster numbers again.