The Oregon Ducks look to get back on track after a disappointing season last year. Their road losses in November to Pac-12 rivals the Stanford Cardinal and Arizona Wildcats hampered the Ducks’ chances for BCS glory in 2013. This season, however, the Ducks will compete for a National Championship and an Oregon player will walk away with the most coveted award in all of College Football.
That player will undoubtedly be Oregon QB Marcus Mariota.
No Oregon player has ever won a Heisman Trophy in the 79 years of the award being given to the best player in college football. Mariota looks to be the first Pac-12 player to win the prestigious award since USC Trojans RB Reggie Bush in 2005.
The dual-threat ability of Mariota makes him a great candidate to win the Heisman. His game production will be better than last season when he averaged a combined 336.9 yards per game. The Ducks have one of the best offenses in college football and traditionally have been stocked with high scoring weapons. The unique ability for Mariota to recognize the schemes of opposing defenses along with excellent audible play calls is a major key to the offensive success for Oregon. Head coach Mark Helfrich has given the Ducks an outstanding approach to game management that directly reflects to Mariota’s on-field performance. In the first ten games of the season last year, he did not throw an interception and finished with only four interceptions total.
Mariota is a game changer at the quarterback position. His pure athleticism and speed forces major adjustments for opposing defenses. He’s quick enough to elude defenders and improvises in space to pick up yardage when running down field. Mariota’s decision-making ability puts him as an elite quarterback in all of college football. The Ducks’ fast-paced offense is mastered with outstanding execution behind his on-field leadership. As a result, defenses are often picked apart by Mariota’s ability to complete passes while on the run. He has complete awareness to feel defenders while moving in the pocket along with keeping in eyes focused downfield. This allow for him to adjust his throws with great accuracy and hit his targets with ease.
The superb knowledge that Mariota applies to the game of football makes him a franchise quarterback. He’s shown the ability to carry a team on his shoulders in clutch situations, and that will translate to him being a playmaker on Sundays. Like his performances on the field, Mariota will run away with the Heisman Trophy in the 2014 season.
Jeff Hauser is a contributing writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @radiohauser.