5 Reasons Why Marcus Mariota Deserves the 2014 Heisman Trophy
5 Reasons He Deserves the 2014 Heisman Trophy
Despite being towards the top of the polls the past few seasons and seeing a number of star athletes enter the football program, the Oregon Ducks have never produced a Heisman Trophy winner. It’s surprising if you think about it. Under Chip Kelly, the Ducks have had high-powered offensive systems that put even the best defensive teams into a tizzy.
Under new head coach Mark Helfrich, the Ducks' recent tradition of unbelievably good offensive performance has continued. Oregon currently ranks in the top three for both total yards and points per game. A big reason for this stunning success is the play of highly efficient sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Unlike most other playmakers in college football, Mariota makes very few mistakes while running an offense with a lot of horsepower. It’s not as if he is one-dimensional in the perfect system either. Sure he plays within Helfrich’s acclaimed schemes, but the kid simply makes plays with both his feet and his arm while doing so with very little error.
He hasn’t even completed his second full season of play for the Ducks, but it’s safe to say that he is probably the program’s best quarterback since Joey Harrington. Depending on how long Mariota stays in a Ducks uniform, he should go down among the Oregon greats and could even nab himself the school’s first Heisman. He is the near-perfect combination of speed, skill and intelligence.
Whether he comes out on top of the voting or not, Mariota is more than deserving of college football’s greatest individual prize this season and here are five reasons why.
5. Leads a Top Offense
Mariota is the perfect quarterback for Mark Helfrich’s scheme so it is no surprise that he has been the captain of one of the country’s greatest offenses. The Ducks are ranked near the top of just about every offensive statistical category. Before the Ducks’ November 7 loss to Stanford, they hadn't scored fewer than 42 points in a single game and tallied less than 50 points only twice.
4. He's an Elite Passer
Mariota is tearing up defenses through the air. With 2,531 yards and 22 TDs on 63.3-percent passing, the Ducks’ signal caller is near the top of the country in several statistical categories, including passing yards, touchdowns, yards-per-attempt and passing efficiency.
3. He Hasn't Thrown an Interception
Even with his high passing numbers and usage, Mariota has yet to throw an interception. You read that correctly. Mariota hasn't thrown a single interception so far this season. To say he is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country would be a gross understatement. He keeps his cool under pressure and doesn’t launch the ball into coverage. One of the biggest pitfalls of some otherwise great quarterbacks is turnovers, and Mariota is on a very short list of mistake-free field generals.
Mariota's top competition for this season's Heisman Trophy, Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston, have thrown a combined 18 interceptions. This makes Mariota's perfect touchdown to interception ratio look even more impressive.
2. He's a Dual Threat
Not only can Mariota make plays with his arm, but he also has the ability to torch defenses with his feet. He is one of the fastest players in the country, and it shows up in his rushing totals. This is something Jameis Winston cannot say.
Of quarterbacks with 2,500 or more passing yards, only Johnny Manziel can boast more rushing yards – besting Mariota 553 to 495. However, Johnny Football has needed 33 more rushing attempts to gain those extra 58 yards. Mariota has one of the highest yards-per-carry averages in the entire country, regardless of position.
Additionally, Mariota has run for more scores than Manziel, and he has done so in one fewer game. If you were to extrapolate his stats to the amount of attempts Manziel has had, Mariota’s total numbers would be far superior.
1. High Character
While recruiting Mariota, Helfrich described him as "almost like a mythical character." Helfrich continued, "Because everyone was like, 'Oh, he's the greatest person in the world, he's got a 7.0 GPA,' and just all of these things. You keep waiting for 'but,' but it never came."
One of the often overlooked Heisman requirements is outstanding character off the field. After Manziel’s behavior issues earlier this season and Winston’s recent sex assault allegations, Mariota appears to be the runaway leader in this category. It seems nobody has anything bad to say about this kid.