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Ex-Crusader Mariota of Oregon among top 10 surprises of spring football

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:11 p.m. HST, May 16, 2012

Quarterback Marcus Mariota, a Saint Louis School graduate competing for the starting job at Oregon, was named one of the Top 10 most pleasant surprise players of spring football by CBS Sports.

CBS said, "When word got out that Darron Thomas was jumping early to the NFL, folks close to the Ducks program weren't in a panic because they'd seen how dangerous young Bryan Bennett could be running Chip Kelly's offense.

They'd also knew they had a smooth, swift 6-4 redshirt freshman from Hawaii in Mariota, who would push Bennett hard for the starting job. And that's exactly what Mariota has done. He also looked more impressive in the Ducks nationally televised spring game, breaking off TD runs of 82 and 14 yards.

"As we've said, before it's risky to put too much stock in a spring performance, much less one spring game because of the variance of the circumstances, but Kelly had to be very pleased with how his young QB looked in his first chance under a spotlight."

CBS noted, "He's got that Hawaiian Island, laid-back, cool-breeze kind of attitude," Kelly told the Register-Guard after the spring game. "And it helps him."

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