It’s official: Marcus Mariota will be headed into the 2015 NFL Draft.
Mariota has opted to forgo another year at the University of Oregon, declaring early his intentions to move toward a professional football career.
Marcus released a statement about his decision on Wednesday, a couple of days after the disappointing loss by the Oregon Ducks to the Ohio State Buckeyes on Monday.
“My four years at the University of Oregon have been an awesome experience. I cannot thank coach Kelly, coach Helfrich, coach Frost, the rest of the Oregon coaches and the support staff enough for molding me as a person, player and student-athlete.”
“The support I received from the University, the city of Eugene and Duck fans has been tremendous. I will always remember the great times and support I received.”
“Once a Duck always a Duck. [sic]”
Mariota admitted that he “will miss being with [his] teammates” on the field, and considers his time at Oregon something that he “will always treasure.”
The 2014 Heisman winner has stirred up quite a bit of buzz for himself, with expectations that Marcus will inevitably be a first round pick. Some are suggesting that Marcus Mariota may be one of the first, if not the first, quarterbacks snagged during the draft.
Although the move to pro-football isn’t surprising to many fans of the 21-year-old Hawaii native, some feel it comes a bit earlier than anticipated.
It’s noted that Marcus Mariota avoided making any public comments this year about whether or not he would enter the 2015 draft.
There is a great deal of buzz around the young quarterback, who in addition to his 2014 Heisman win snagged a number of honors, including Associated Press Player of the Year and the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year.
It’s clear to many football fans that Mariota is set to be the man on the moment when the NFL draft kicks off, and possibly beyond that depending on where he may end up.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 14, 2015
As such, it may be appropriate to spare a thought for a rookie quarterback whose hype machine broke down and is on the way to being very quickly forgotten.
Johnny “Football” Manziel is himself a Heisman winner. But his first season with the Cleveland Browns will serve as a warning to Marcus Mariota of what to avoid rather than what to aspire to.
His only two starts were embarrassing affairs, the second of which lent itself to a game-ending injury.
It doesn’t help that Manziel’s “frat boy” image and behavior have possibly hurt his brand.
By comparison, Marcus Mariota seems to have a possess a more humble image to accompany his talent.
Are you excited by Marcus Mariota opting for the NFL and do you think this will hasten the end of the “Johnny Football” hype?
[Image credit: NZAUTV News]