Calling it a “dream come true,” Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was selected Monday as one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious award in college athletics.
The Saint Louis School graduate is the odds-on favorite to be the first player from Hawaii or the University of Oregon to hoist the bronze statue when the 80th annual Heisman Trophy Announcement is made Saturday in New York.
The other finalists in balloting by more than 900 voters are Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon.
“However it goes, I’m honored and grateful,” Mariota told the Star-Advertiser.
The three-time All-Pac-12 quarterback said he grew up watching the Heisman presentations on television with his family and remembers it as, “especially for a young athlete, the pinnacle of the college game.”
Mariota said, “I dreamt about it and and I wanted to do it, but to say that I expected to (be invited) would be untrue. You have to have a lot of success and and have a lot of things go your way to have this kind of an opportunity.”
Saint Louis School President Walter Kirimitsu said in an email, “We at Saint Louis School congratulate Marcus and hope he is awarded the Heisman trophy based on his outstanding on-the-field performance all season long, his excellent academic record and his strong character and sound moral judgment. Marcus truly exemplifies what the Heisman Award stands for. We strongly believe that Marcus Mariota is the BEST COLLEGIATE FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR and support him all the way!”
Mariota, a redshirt junior, leads the nation in passing efficiency and has thrown 38 touchdown passes this season and only two interceptions. He has competed 68.2 percent of his passes for 3,783 yards.
Mariota has led the Ducks to a 12-1 record and a Jan. 1 Rose Bowl appearance against Florida State in the inaugural College Football Playoffs. He has thrown at least one touchdown in all 39 games he’s started at Oregon.
“I wouldn’t be in this position without all of my teammates,” Mariota said.