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NFL can wait: Mariota will return as Oregon's quarterback

By Ferd Lewis

LAST UPDATED: 01:42 a.m. HST, Dec 04, 2013

Saying money "can't buy the amount of memories or experience I have here," All-Pac-12 quarterback Marcus Mariota said Tuesday he will return to the University of Oregon for his junior year, forsaking a likely lucrative place in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Mariota, a Saint Louis School graduate and redshirt sophomore at Oregon, would have been eligible to pursue the NFL Draft since he redshirted his first year for the Ducks.

NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. had listred Mariota as a projected "top five" pick in the first round and forecast him as the second quarterback that could be taken.

Mariota said the decision to bypass putting his name in for the NFL draft was "tough but wasn't as hard as people may think it was."

He had been considered the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy this year until a knee injury and losses to Stanford and Arizona hurt his candidacy.

Mariota said he expects to graduate in 2014 with a degree in general sciences.  

"It is an honor to be a student at the University of Oregon and to have the opportunity to represent our institution on the football field alongside my teammates," said Mariota on the school's website. "I look forward to earning my degree next year and to the rest of my career at this great university."

Mariota completed 227 of 360 passes (63.1%) for 3,412 yards and 30 touchdowns as a sophomore. His 3,994 yards of total offense set a single-season Oregon record.

Mariota has started all 25 games for the Ducks in his two seasons. He is the Pac-12 Conference's current career leader in pass efficiency rating at 165.67. He is the only quarterback from a BCS AQ conference team to pass for at least 30 touchdowns the past two years and his current streak of 25 straight games with at least one touchdown pass is listed as the third-longest in the nation.

Mariota's center, Hroniss Grasu, said he will also return in 2014. Mariota said they have grown close over their time together at Oregon and wanted to make their decision together.

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MakaniKai wrote:
Good News! Go DUCKS.........O
on December 3,2013 | 12:12PM
Surfer_Dude wrote:
You'll get another shot at BCS next year Marcus. Glad your staying.
on December 3,2013 | 12:37PM
allie wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 3,2013 | 01:07PM
So Allie, what are some of the questions you have regarding his legitimacy of NFL talent? Yes, 1 more year gives him a chance to prove himself, and yes it is a good move. I believe you have a serious problem with self-esteem and it is leaking into the reflections of others. You should have it checked out. Please seek out some help.
on December 3,2013 | 03:10PM
kahu808 wrote:
We will all chip in for your counseling.
on December 3,2013 | 05:31PM
Doubtfull-in fact-No he wont, as next year they will go to a playoff system. But your attitude is correct. He will be force next year and the Oregon team must be truely happy to have him back.
on December 3,2013 | 03:08PM
jamrus36 wrote:
Go Beavs!
on December 3,2013 | 12:43PM
sooregonian wrote:
jamrus36 -- you got balls but don't wear your team's colors in the South lol. Too bad about the civil war game but the Beavs were gutsy.
on December 3,2013 | 04:42PM
HOSSANA wrote:
Good for you, Marcus. Proud of you and I do hope you earn your degree. Once again, I am so very proud of you and that you are from Hawaii.
on December 3,2013 | 12:51PM
808comp wrote:
Great choice. Get that degree, as football is not forever.
on December 3,2013 | 01:02PM
haolebob wrote:
Hawai'i should be very proud of this fine young gentleman. His football exploits gain headlines, but it is his interviews that impress me more. He handles the spotlight better than any other athlete from Hawai'i ever has and him realizing the need to get a degree is most commendable. I wish him well in all of his chosen endeavors and know he will succeed in whatever he does.
on December 3,2013 | 01:22PM
HOSSANA wrote:
Very well said.
on December 3,2013 | 04:51PM
shanik wrote:
take the money kid!
on December 3,2013 | 02:20PM
makiki123 wrote:
It's his life and I hope he made a good decision, but remember what happened to Colt Brennan and his decision to play one more year.
on December 3,2013 | 04:23PM
tigerwarrior wrote:
If he enters the draft this year--he's guaranteed millions. If he stays--he'll have to prove himself all over again. Hopefully NFL teams will remember his commitment to Oregon as well as him being a well-grounded young man--in case his stock should fall a bit next season. Unfortunately, NFL teams suffer selective amnesia when it comes draft day and will pay him accordingly to how high he is projected to go.
on December 3,2013 | 04:43PM
Surfer_Dude wrote:
There is really no comparison between Marcus and Colt.
on December 3,2013 | 05:15PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Smart kid. Good QB. Quack mightily.
on December 3,2013 | 04:32PM
sooregonian wrote:
Southern Oregon loves the Ducks and Mariota!
on December 3,2013 | 04:38PM
Anonymous wrote:
While I agree with your statement that this young man displays a level of maturity that is often absent in the athletes of today he is not the first from Hawaii to do so. All one has to do is go back a few years and recall names like Freitas, Francis, Tatupu, Sapolu, Noga, Diaz, and many, many others to know that these islands have historically turned out quality football athletes as well as athletes in other disciplines. Young Marcus Mariota has joined some elite company. Whether it is a good decision for him professionally and personally, only time will tell but for now, for him, it is an admirable choice.
on December 3,2013 | 04:57PM
kk808 wrote:
on December 3,2013 | 05:58PM
Kapaho wrote:
Since he'll graduate next year, wise decision to skip the NFL. I'm sure he'll have another successful season next year at Oregon and will be a high draft pick in the NFL. Also give him a chance to improve his game at the collegiate level.
on December 3,2013 | 06:43PM
false wrote:
I think he's making a big mistake. What's left to prove? School memories are OK but a secure future is more important. Take the NFL plunge now because an injury can cause his dreams to turn into nightmares. He can always go back for his degree if he wants.
on December 3,2013 | 07:17PM
oldertimer808 wrote:
It is a great decision because he will get his degree next year and that is why you go to college plus one more year of college football will only grow his experience.
on December 3,2013 | 10:40PM
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