Oregon Ducks fans have known for a year-and-a-half just how talented Marcus Mariota is at playing the quarterback position. Through six games the Flyin’ Hawaiian has eyes turning and hardware talks blooming around the country.
Following a seven-touchdown performance last week, which earned him Pac-12 Player of the Week honors, Mariota might have topped it going 24-of-31 for 366 yards and three touchdowns through the air, along with 86 yards and an additional score on the ground.
One of those in awe of Mariota’s play was Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian who praised the Duck signal-caller in his post-game press conference.
[gn_quote style=”1″]”I don’t have a Heisman vote, but I’d be hard pressed to say we’ll see a better quarterback this year. That guy is special. I don’t know when he is planning on going to the NFL, but when he does, I think he’ll be a top five draft pick. He’s a hell of a player. To contain him we had a couple of different plans depending on what their plan was and how we could play them. The general plan was to try to keep him in the pocket and then when he ran the ball to make sure we always had somebody with their eyes on him. He’s just a difficult match-up. And when we really tried to bring more people to keep him there and get more one-on-one match ups down the field, they’re spread in the slot against our safeties I thought was a real factor in the game and he just threw accurate ball after accurate ball.”[/gn_quote]
Uh oh… The last thing Oregon fans want to think about is players leaving early. There’s already Colt Lyerla who left for God knows what reason. People have their suspensions about De’Anthony Thomas, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Terrance Mitchell amongst other draft eligible Ducks. But it seemed like a safe bet that at least Mariota would return for one more season. But that may not be the case.
In response to his dominant performance against the Huskies, Mariota remained as humble as ever, spreading praise and taking the team’s win as a sign of the team’s overall dominance.
[gn_quote style=”1″]”It’s a team sport, really. To be out there with the guys. They did a great job and I’m proud of them.”[/gn_quote]
Another person who has good things to say about Mariota is ESPN college football expert Kirk Herbstreit who took to Twitter following the Oregon blowout.
I agree with coach Sark that Mariota will eventually be a top-5 pick, I just don’t know if it will happen after this season. But if it were I have my suspicions of where Mariota could go. Perhaps the Philadelphia Eagles?
It makes complete sense that Chip Kelly would want to re-unite with his prodigy. And with an aging, injury-prone Michael Vick at quarterback it’s time to look towards the future. Yes, the Eagles have Nick Foles at back-up, but Foles is hardly the athletic specimen of Mariota.
The most difficult part of this scenario is whether or not the Eagles finish as one of the five worst teams in the league. At 2-3 and in the NFC East, arguably the worst division in the NFL, it isn’t likely that the Eagles lose more than 10 games. They’ll be good enough to not be one of the five worst teams.
So how bad does Chip want Marcus as his quarterback?
Would he be willing to trade up to get him? Possibly. Maybe the Eagles trade away Foles to a team near the top needing a quarterback. A team like the New York Giants who want a long-term solution to the position as well. Yes I’m calling you out, Eli Manning. Or maybe the Pittsburgh Steelers who sit in the same boat with an aging Ben Roethlisberger.
Point is, Marcus’ days as Oregon’s quarterback are numbered. I’m not saying he leaves after this season, but with a Heisman trophy and BCS national title there won’t be much left for him to accomplish at the collegiate level. Except of getting a degree… but who needs those things?