Oregon quarterback, Marcus Mariota announced today that he will indeed enter the NFL Draft this year.
“After meeting with my family I have decided to forego my final year of eligibility and apply for the 2015 NFL Draft,” Mariota said.
“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. I will miss being with my teammates. Being a part of this team was something special that I will always treasure.”
Though hearts are breaking throughout Oregon today, Mariota’s legacy will never be forgotten by a program and it’s fans that have grown to love #8.
When I first started covering the Ducks, I remember having a heart to heart with senior safety, Brian Jackson. “You know, Nichole,” he said. “Everyone out here just wants to be remembered for something.”
So when I had the chance to sit down with Marcus Mariota last summer, I made sure to ask him what he wanted to be remembered for- what he wanted his legacy to be. Looking back, his genuine response encapsulates who he is and why a nation has fallen in love with him.
“On and off the field. whatever you do on the field it is what it is . I think the best thing that someone can say of you is that you’re a great teammate,” Mariota said.
“For me, that’s my main goal. For me, the legacy, someone else will be behind me that will break all the records and do all that types of stuff. For me, I just want to be remembered as some guy that people could look to and trust and find confidence in.”
Though he has shattered records and become the most decorated Oregon player ever, Mariota has remained humble and full of class each step of the way. As fans, we have watched a young, shy kid, grow into an inspiring leader who leads his team to victory and provides a solid role model to young athletes everywhere.
Marcus, though green and yellow tears are falling everywhere today, know that you are cherished by thousands who wish you the best of luck not just in the NFL, but in your entire life. Thank you for being an amazing Duck. You will surely be missed~
Slide Show: Mariota’s Years as a Duck
Photos Credit: Russ Long/gridirongirl