Oregon's Marcus Mariota Shooting Up Heisman and NFL Draft Boards

By Erik Sargent

While the story of Oregon Ducks redshirt sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota is far from being completed, the story that has unfolded so far is one that is very interesting.

Mariota was a talented high school player out of Honolulu, Hawaii and wasn’t that highly ranked of a quarterback coming out of high school. He held offers from Memphis and Washington before Oregon came along and he committed there.

It is widely believed Mariota’s commitment led to the de-commitment of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who was also committed to Oregon at the time.

Upon arriving at Oregon, Mariota started instantly turning heads. He redshirted his first year but was cast into the starting role as a redshirt freshman after quarterback Darron Thomas unexpectedly jumped to the NFL.

Since then, it’s been nothing but dominance for Mariota. In his first year as the starter, Mariota passed for 2,677 yards and threw for 32 touchdowns while also running for 752 yards and five touchdowns as he led the team to a Fiesta Bowl victory over Kansas State.

In 2013, Mariota has shown zero signs of slowing down. Through three games, he has passed for 889 yards and seven touchdowns while throwing zero interceptions. He has kept it up in the run game as well, running for 262 yards and four touchdowns.

This absolutely incredible quarterback play has caught the attention of everyone around the country right now. As it stands currently, Mariota is in a close race with Manziel for the Heisman trophy and looks to be the only one to really try and prevent Manziel from winning back to back Heismans.

It’s not just Heisman voters who are noticing Mariota, either. He is shooting up every NFL draft scout’s big board and has scouts drooling over his NFL potential. Mariota stands a 6-foot-4, 211 pounds and can make every throw on the field while also possessing great running ability, which is the exact mold of a new age NFL quarterback.

While it is widely believed that Louisville‘s Teddy Bridgewater is the top NFL quarterback prospect, if Mariota continues to play at this level he could catch up to Bridgewater. Mariota is eligible to leave for the NFL draft after this season, so it will be interesting to see what he does.

For now, Mariota will keep tearing it up on the gridiron for the Ducks and look to get them back in a BCS bowl and possibly a national championship appearance. The game to watch from Mariota is when Oregon travels to Stanford in November because a good performance there could bring in a lot of hardware for the young quarterback.

Erik Sargent is a college football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Erik_Sargent, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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