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Mariota humble as usual, leaves for Tennessee tonight


  • Marcus Mariota received the news Thursday afternoon that he had been drafted by the Tennessee Titans. (Thomas Boyd/Oregonian/Oregonlive/POOL)

  • Former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota holds up his Tennessee Titans jersey after addressing the media during his press conference on NFL Draft Day on Thursday afternoon in Honolulu. Mariota was selected in the first round with the second pick by the Titans. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
  • STAFF
    Marcus Mariota gathers with friends and family at the Saint Louis School Alumni Clubhouse on Thursday afternoon to see which NFL team will draft him. (Thomas Boyd/Oregonian/Oregonlive/POOL)
  • STAFF
    Marcus Mariota gathers with his family; brother Matt, left, mother Alana Deppe-Mariota, and father Toa, at the Saint Louis School Alumni Clubhouse on Thursday afternoon to see which NFL team will draft him. (Thomas Boyd/Oregonian/Oregonlive/POOL)

  • Former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, right, along with his father Toa Mariota, left, arrived at the Saint Louis Alumni Clubhouse on NFL Draft Day on Thursday. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
  • BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Members of the media both local and national awaited Saint Louis School product and University of Oregon Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota's selection in the NFL draft during a gathering with family and friends at the Saint Louis Clubhouse on Thursday.

  • Former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, right, got a hug from a family friend during a private gathering at the Saint Louis Alumni Clubhouse on NFL Draft Day on Thursday. (Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian via AP, Pool)

  • Former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, right, looked on as his cousin Rieda Butts-Livingston, left, took a selfie at the Saint Louis Alumni Clubhouse on NFL Draft Day on Thursday. (Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian via AP, Pool)

  • Former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, right, along with his friend Kiyomi Cook arrived at the Saint Louis Alumni Clubhouse on NFL Draft Day on Thursday. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

  • Former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, left, was greeted by his friend and former Saint Louis High School football coach Matt Wright after arriving at the Saint Louis Alumni Clubhouse on NFL Draft Day on Thursday. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
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Marcus Mariota’s reaction to being selected second overall in the NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans was business as usual for the Heisman Trophy winner from Saint Louis School and Oregon — full of humility and quiet confidence.

“It’s tough to put all the emotions into words,” Mariota told a packed interview room at the Saint Louis Alumni Clubhouse. “It’s a little bit far away from home but I’m excited. … I’m looking forward to this next chapter.”

As expected by most, Florida State quarterback and 2013 Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston was selected first by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

And a few minutes later, Mariota’s phone rang. He said the connection dropped, but eventually he spoke with Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt.

“Just talking about the future,” said Mariota, who was to leave Honolulu on Thursday night on a red-eye flight to Nashville.

Mariota, who operated out of a shotgun spread offense at Oregon, said he doesn’t expect difficulties adjusting to the Titans schemes.

As for Winston, despite some off-the-field problems that plagued him while a Seminole, the Bucs believed he was the most polished quarterback in this year’s draft. He goes to an NFL team that feels it isn’t far from being a contender in the NFL playoffs.

Meanwhile, around 250 of Mariota’s closest friends and about 50 media members were gathered at the Saint Louis Alumni Clubhouse this afternoon in anticipation of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner from Honolulu being picked earliest of any player bred in Hawaii.

Mariota said he didn’t know he was the highest pick of a player from the islands.

Mariota arrived at around noon and settled in for what most expected to be a short wait when the draft started at 2 p.m. Hawaii Time.

Most observers expected Mariota to be picked early, some predicting that he and Winston would be selected first and second by the Buccaneers and the Titans, respectively. And that’s exactly what happened.

Several national TV crews and reporters were among the media members in attendance at the Isenberg Street clubhouse, as Mariota decided to watch the draft in Hawaii and not attend the NFL festivities in Chicago.

“This (location) was in the plan all along,” he said.

Mariota was the eighth Hawaii-bred player to be drafted in the first round, and first since Tyson Alualu in 2010.

The two previous highest picks from Hawaii were Herman Wedemeyer (Saint Louis, St. Mary’s, Rams) in 1947 and Al Harris (Leilehua, Arizona State, Bears) in 1979, who were both chosen ninth.

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