It’s official; Christmas has arrived early in Eugene.
Marcus Mariota announced today he will remain a Duck one more year, returning to the University of Oregon for another year rather than entering the NFL Draft. The news sent a wave of excitement throughout Duck Nation as most football fans were busy following and debating about the whole USC coaching upheaval, myself included.
Widely expected to be a top 2013 NFL draft pick, Mariota has said, as recently as Friday, that he planned to wait until the season’s end to make a decision. He told reporters he’d be sitting down with his family, who was in Eugene for the Thanksgiving holiday and would discuss his future plans. He added that whatever decision he made would be whatever was best for his family. Apparently, the Mariota family has decided in favor of Oregon, as if Duck fans needed another reason to love them.
So what does Mariota’s decision mean for the future of Oregon Football? Well, it means Duck fans can sleep soundly, with visions of sugar plums and a 2015 trip to the National Championship dancing in their heads. Sure, we all know it will again be an uphill battle, but with Mariota back under center, that hill became much less trechorous. With Mariota and his Center, Hronis Grasu announcing their return, it could very well start a snow ball effect in the program (ie: DAT and Ifo-Ekpre Olomu could decide to stay as well). It also paints a pretty nice picture of a Duck team full of talented play-makers, lead by a 3rd year starter- something the Ducks haven’t experienced in many years.
This year’s expectations were high. A Natty and a Heisman were on the line after all. Those dreams are obviously crushed this season and with the possibility of losing Mariota to the NFL, hope for 2014 might have wavered just a bit. Courtesy of Mariota, I think it’s safe to say, hope has been restored.
What are your thoughts?? I’d love to hear them.
Follow me on Twitter @UOgridirongirl