Marcus Mariota

Best college QB of the decade? Marcus Mariota

Best college QB of the decade? Marcus Mariota

Pro Football Focus asked Twitter one simple question Tuesday afternoon: Who is the best college quarterback of the decade?

The players included in the tweet were all Heisman Trophy winners: Auburn's Cam Newton, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, LSU's Joe Burrow and Oregon's Marcus Mariota.

You obviously know which one we're rolling with and much of Twitter agreed which even got Mariota trending.

As some might remember, Oregon at one point had Manziel and Mariota both committed to attend college in Eugene before Manziel changed his mind.

How good was Mariota while at Oregon. As a redshirt freshman, Chip Kelly believed that Mariota was special enough that he wouldn't guarantee two-year starter Darron Thomas the job despite him leading a National Championship contender and Rose Bowl Championship team in back-to-back seasons. Thomas instead went pro rather than competing with Mariota for the starting job.

[Be sure to listen to the latest Talkin' Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Oregon men's basketball head coach Ernie Kent].

Kelly was right as Mariota went on to be the best player in program history throwing for 10,796 yards, 105 touchdowns and only 14 interceptions over three seasons in Eugene. He also added 2,237 yards and 29 touchdowns on the ground. 

As a redshirt junior, Mariota won the program's first Heisman Trophy and led the Ducks to another National Championship appearance. He then left school early to be selected second overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. 

While Burrow had the best single-season in college football history, his junior season left much to be desired. Johnny Manziel never won a division title. Cam Newton only played one season as the starter before declaring.

When you're talking which player had the best college career, it's Mariota by a mile.

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Marcus Mariota is no longer a free agent, officially engaged! Sorry ladies...

Marcus Mariota is no longer a free agent, officially engaged! Sorry ladies...

Marcus Mariota has a lot of hardware to account for. Football rings, medals, trophies including the prestigious Heisman Trophy in 2014. 

One of Mariota’s greatest rings, however, has landed on another finger.

That’s right. The Heisman Trophy winner, former No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, ‘Flyin’ Hawaiian’ is engaged.

Mariota and his college sweetheart Kiyomi Cook are officially engaged.

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Of course, you know Mariota as one of the G.O.A.T.s of college football and a head on Oregon’s Mt. Rushmore of athletics, but his fiancée Cook was a stellar soccer player for the University of Oregon, as well. 

Cook played in 15 games her senior year at Oregon while starting in three. She scored her first-career goal in a win over Milwaukee, giving her a total of five career points (1 goal, 3 assists) in her career as a Duck. 

Turns out Cook also runs and Instagram page for her franchise dogs, where another Oregon G.O.A.T., Sabrina Ionescu, was featured.

When Mariota was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2016, Cook followed him to Nashville and became the girls’ middle school soccer coach for the varsity team at the University School of Nashville. 

The Gresham, Oregon native always dreamed of attending the University of Oregon.

Congrats to the happy couple!

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Oregon men’s basketball head coach Ernie Kent].

Marcus Mariota donates $25,000 to assist Hawai'i's homeless population

Marcus Mariota donates $25,000 to assist Hawai'i's homeless population

Marcus Mariota continues to show off why his character is held in such high regard.

The former Oregon Ducks quarterback's Motiv8 Foundation in partnership with First Hawaiian Bank’s (FHB) “Aloha for Hawaii” campaign has made a $25,000 donation to the Institute for Human Services (IHS) to help out the homeless population in Hawai'i. 

“There is nothing more important to me than supporting Hawaii’s children and our homeless population, especially in the current COVID-19 climate where there are so many in need,” said Hawaiian native Marcus Mariota. “I’m so hopeful that the families and children in IHS’ care will have a path to a brighter future.”

The money will be used to pay for electricity and water at IHS' Women's and Family Shelter in addition to funding a children's educational program for two and a half months. 

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Paul Swangard, the voice of Hayward Field.

"With the Motiv8 Foundation’s donation, IHS joins the previously announced “Aloha for Hawaii” non-profit recipients Hawaii Meals on Wheels, The Food Basket – Hawaii Island’s Food Basket, Maui Food Bank, Kauai Independent Food Bank, The Pantry by Feeding Hawaii Together, Child and Family Service, Aloha Harvest, Hawaii Foodbank, and Blood Bank of Hawaii, in receiving contributions from the “Aloha for Hawaii” campaign, which have now reached $800,000 since the campaign began in mid-April," said a release. 

The Motiv8 Foundation's mission statement reads as follows:

"Marcus Mariota grew up seeing the positive power of sport first-hand, which fueled his personal mission to use his platform as a professional athlete to create change. Driven by this mission, he established the Motiv8 Foundation during his rookie year (2015) to promote and support a healthy mind and body among youth in Hawaii, Oregon and Tennessee.

"The Motiv8 Foundation aims to create and support economic and educational programs and athletic activities to provide an alternative outlet for youth of troubled neighborhoods and backgrounds. The Foundation’s programming centers around the tools for success that will allow more children to fully matriculate through grade-school and eventually attend college.

"Since its launch, the Motiv8 Foundation has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars towards healthy lifestyle programming, and will continue to fulfill its mission through signature programs, strategic partnerships, and fundraising initiatives.

"Symbolic of not only the Foundation’s mission, the Motiv8 name also honors Mariota’s connection to his lifelong jersey number, and the “808” area code of his hometown, Honolulu, Hawaii. As President of the Foundation, he oversees all programming decisions and drives fundraising efforts."

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Marcus Mariota receives special tribute from former teammate Delanie Walker

Marcus Mariota receives special tribute from former teammate Delanie Walker

Delanie Walker and Marcus Mariota are the ultimate friend goals.

Walker paid tribute to Mariota, his former teammate on the Tennessee Titans, who has since signed with the Las Vegas Raiders. 

In a post on Twitter, the free agent tight end shared several photos of custom-made Air Force Ones that featured Mariota and Walker standing side by side. Next to the portrait of the dynamic duo was their connection on full display: 258 receptions, 2962 yards and 18 touchdowns. 

“Sometimes the people we’ve known for a short amount of time have the biggest impact on our lives, even more than those we’ve known forever,” Walker wrote in the post on Twitter. “Thanks, my guy.”

Walker was one of Mariota's favorite targets and accounted for 258 of Walker’s 381 receptions in seven seasons at Tennessee. In his last full season in 2017, the three-time Pro Bowler caught 74 passes from his quarterback.  

Walker, 35, has since been released by the Titans due to failed physical while the former Oregon quarterback signed with the Las Vegas Raiders to be the NFL's highest-paid backup quarterback. 

Neither Mariota nor Walker are members of the Titans anymore, but the brotherly bond between the former teammates remains sacred. 

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Paul Swangard, the voice of Hayward Field.

Marcus Mariota 'started killing us every single week' in practice says Logan Ryan

Marcus Mariota 'started killing us every single week' in practice says Logan Ryan

When Marcus Mariota got benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill, most quarterbacks would have let a demotion like that get the best of them.

Not Marcus.

The former Heisman Trophy winner instead shifted his focus to helping the team any way he could, which included playing quarterback for the scout team.

In an appearance on the Double Coverage podcast with Jason and Devin McCourty, former Tennessee Titans cornerback Logan Ryan said that Mariota was "killing" the Titans defense while acting as the scout team quarterback.

He started killing us every single week. ... Like, he started ripping us in practice. Marcus Mariota was the practice quarterback and he was destroying us. And it made us better.

The former Oregon quarterback's play in practice paid off in the postseason. After Mariota imitated Tom Brady and 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, the Titans defense held them to 59.4 and 63.2 QB ratings respectively. 

Mariota's response caused Titans head coach Mike Vrabel to praise his demeanor after the demotion saying he was "a consummate professional until the end." 

His replacement echoed Vrabel's sentiment saying that Marcus is "a great friend" at the Pro Bowl.

"Marcus is an incredible human being, and I have so much respect and love for him. The way he handled things... it was an incredibly tough situation. He was in Tennessee for five years, and it was his team and where he made his home. The way things went down, I don't think many guys in the world would handle it the way he did," said Tannehill. 

"He handled it like a true professional. He was supportive of me from Day One. I know he was hurting, and I tried to be empathetic with that throughout the season and give support to him as well. But he handled it so well.. he was supportive of me, helped me out on game days, in preparation during the week. He was just a consistent guy throughout the year."

Mariota has shown flashes throughout his professional career, including an impressive sophomore campaign when he threw 26 touchdowns and just nine interceptions with a career-best 7.9 yards-per-attempt until a broken leg ended his season. His junior season saw massive regression as he threw 13 touchdowns to 15 interceptions while playing through a hamstring injury. That regression would continue into his fourth season under first-year head coach Mike Vrabel. 

Before being benched, Mariota has a 29-32 record in 61 games as a starter with 13,207 passing yards, 76 touchdowns, and 44 interceptions.

It's not entirely Mariota's fault, however; few young quarterbacks would succeed with four offensive coordinators and five different play-callers during their rookie contract.

Now, Mariota gets another chance to start over playing for the Las Vegas Raiders who hope to "rebuild" him. 

Listen to Geoff Schwartz on the latest episode of the Talkin' Ducks podcast here.

Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston hitting reset button -- who will be better?

Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston hitting reset button -- who will be better?

It appears that Jameis Winston is signing a free-agent contract with the New Orleans Saints.

And now that Marcus Mariota has signed with the Las Vegas Raiders, it leads me to think that perhaps, after five seasons in the NFL, we still don’t know which of those guys is the best quarterback.

They were drafted in 2015, Winston No. 1 out of Florida State by Tampa Bay and Mariota No. 2 from Oregon by Tennessee, in a year when the draft wasn’t exactly loaded with blue-chip quarterbacks. Both players had previously won a Heisman Trophy.

And it’s certainly time to ask the question, are either of these players going to emerge as a high-quality NFL quarterback?

Of course, regional bias in these parts will always say that Mariota is a star in waiting. The storyline has always been that he hasn’t been used properly, the offense hasn’t been tailored to fit his skill set, he hasn’t had quality receivers, hasn't had a good offensive coordinator, too many coaching changes, etc., etc.

I’m not going to bury you with statistics, you can find Mariota’s stats here and Winston’s here. Just see for yourself and cherry-pick the ones that bolster your argument.

But in summary, I would state the obvious: that Mariota is the steadier of the two, less prone to mistakes. More careful. But Winston, who has been in a Pro Bowl, can be more spectacular, more likely to take chances.

Everyone talks about Winston’s 30 interceptions last season, but he also had 33 touchdown passes, a figure Mariota has never approached. Mariota’s all-time high in picks is 15 and he has only 44 in 63 career games. Winston has thrown 88 interceptions in 72 games. On the other hand, Winston has tossed 121 TD passes while Mariota has thrown just 76.

Both quarterbacks get to hit the reset button -- Winston for a team that resurrected Teddy Bridgewater’s career and Mariota with a coach who seems to love him.

I don’t think I’d be betting on either of them becoming a breakout star with their new franchise, but anything is possible with a fresh start.

At this point, though, I think it’s probably fair to say that neither man has lived up to expectations.

Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr gushes over 'amazing' Marcus Mariota

Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr gushes over 'amazing' Marcus Mariota

Everyone loves Marcus Mariota. 

Well, maybe not the Tennessee Titans.

But, the former Heisman Trophy winner is commonly known as one of the kindest and most professional people in all of the NFL. He's hard to root against because of that.

Add Raiders QB Derek Carr to the club of people that love Marcus Mariota, despite the potential upcoming QB competition in Las Vegas.

Following the Las Vegas Raiders signing Mariota in free agency, Carr and Mariota have talked, the Raiders quarterback revealed on an episode of Quarantinin' With The Boys.

We've talked already. He is by far one of the coolest, nicest, professional people I've ever been around. I've got nothing but good things to say about him. He's amazing.

Having Mariota and Carr be on the same page has been priority number one for both players.

I think the most important thing is to have a united quarterback room. I've always thought that. When you have a strong united quarterback, we can all go lead the football team... Our depth of the offense that we know, we have to correct guys, things like that — I think it's only good things for our team. -- Derek Carr

While Carr is expected to be the starter in Las Vegas, Mariota should have a chance to compete in training camp for playing time and could take over as the starter if Carr struggles in his third season under head coach Jon Gruden.

Raiders general manager Mike Mayock recently said that the franchise aims to "rebuild" Mariota whose NFL career hasn't gone as planned after being selected second overall by the Tennessee Titans. 

He knew that both of us believed in him coming out and still believe in him. He’s got to get healthy, We’ve got to rebuild him a little bit, get his confidence back, build him up from the ground up. It’s going to take a little while, I think, just to get him healthy and where he wants to be.

Marcus Mariota, former Ducks QBs congratulate Justin Herbert on NFL selection

Marcus Mariota, former Ducks QBs congratulate Justin Herbert on NFL selection

Justin Herbert has officially joined the NFL’s elite as a member of the Los Angeles Chargers. 

The Oregon Ducks quarterback was taken as the sixth-overall pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday and he’s in great company. 

In a video via the Oregon Football Twitter account, former Ducks quarterbacks like Dan Fouts, Chris Miller, Vernon Adams Jr., Marcus Mariota, and one of his favorite QBs of all time, Joey Harrington, congratulated Herbert on his next step. 

“Congratulations on a fantastic career,” Harrington said. “Congratulations on being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Your work has now just begun. Keep your head down. Be the leader that we all know you are and have a great career.”

Mariota, who is now a member of the Las Vegas Raiders, will now see Herbert twice a year when the two teams’ meet. 

“Just wanted to reach out and say congratulations,” Mariota said. “This event tonight is something special and it’s a once in-a-lifetime deal, man. Just enjoy it. I know you’ve worked hard for this moment. Your entire family, you have all sacrificed for this journey. So, enjoy it. All the football stuff, everything else, it will come.

“I’m looking forward to this next chapter. You’re going to kill it, brother.” 

Herbert had the opportunity to go as No. 1 or No. 2 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, but decided to return to Oregon this season. He helped lead the Ducks to a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl victory while finishing his career at Oregon with 10,541 passing yards and 95 touchdowns. 

Chip Kelly says NFL coaches aren't using Marcus Mariota right

Chip Kelly says NFL coaches aren't using Marcus Mariota right

Find a coach who believes in you the way Chip Kelly believes in Marcus Mariota.

The two had just one year of collegiate football together for the Oregon Ducks. The Flying’ Hawaiian was a perfect match for Kelly’s uptempo offense. The Ducks’ reign of terror through the Pac-12 was capped off with an 8-1 conference record and a 35-17 win in the Fiesta Bowl over Kansas State.

It only lasted one season, but that Kelly - Mariota duo ignited into a special career for Mariota and resulted in Kelly moving to the NFL. Now, the roles have switched. Mariota is starting a new chapter with the Las Vegas Raiders and Kelly is back to coaching college for the UCLA Bruins.

Turns out, Kelly still remembers the days with Mariota running his offense. 

Former Seattle Seahawks quarterback and now an analyst for ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Matt Hasselbeck joins host Jordan Kent on the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast:

I called a couple UCLA football games this year and every single time I walk into a production meeting, Chip Kelly would start it out with ‘Hass, what’s going on with Marcus Mariota? He’s a star. People aren’t using him right.’ — Matt Hasselbeck

Will the Raiders and head coach Jon Gruden be the team to “use him right?”

I do know that Jon Gruden knows how to catch the quarterback and that’s an opportunity to be on a team that’s trying to build something for the long term. It’s not a team that’s trying to do things recklessly to just win next year. You don’t need the whole league to believe in you. You basically need one or two people to believe in you and right now the Raiders are that team giving him a chance. — Matt Hasselbeck on Mariota 

[RELATED]: Marcus Mariota & Jon Gruden foreshadowed Raiders QB meetings back in 2015

[RELATED]: Las Vegas Raiders was to “rebuild” Marcus Mariota from the ground up

This will be quite the quarterback competition to watch come NFL season: the six-year pro Derek Carr who has only known the Raiders since entering the league in 2014; and the Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.

One thing is for sure: when you have a coach that truly believes in you, as Kelly does with Mariota, all it takes is a little confidence to get that swagger back. Hopefully, Gruden can be that coach for Mariota in Las Vegas.

Tennessee Titans offer hollow farewell to Marcus Mariota in social media post

Tennessee Titans offer hollow farewell to Marcus Mariota in social media post

While it may not have ended like both sides hoped when the franchise spent the second overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft on the Heisman winner, there also appears to be little bad blood.

After former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota officially signing with the Las Vegas Raiders to be the NFL's highest-paid backup quarterback, the Tennessee Titans posted to Instagram to thank the best player in Oregon football history.

View this post on Instagram

Mahalo Marcus. 🤙🏽

A post shared by Tennessee Titans (@titans) on

The farewell gesture seems like a nice gesture at first glance. But, when you look at their other social media posts to other players, including Delanie Walker and Jurrell Casey, Marcus Mariota seems like an after thought. 

View this post on Instagram

A Titan Great ⚔️

A post shared by Tennessee Titans (@titans) on

Casey received not one but two posts, one which was a full page quote from Titans GM Jon Robinson. 

Even Delanie Walker got a nice quote in his post. 

Marcus Mariota got the equivalent to "it is your birthday" written on a cake. 

Sure, Mariota's time didn't pan out how both parties expected. He showed flashes throughout his professional career, including an impressive sophomore campaign when he threw 26 touchdowns and just nine interceptions with a career-best 7.9 yards-per-attempt until a broken leg ended his season. His junior season saw massive regression as he threw 13 touchdowns to 15 interceptions while playing through a hamstring injury. That regression would continue into his fourth season under first-year head coach Mike Vrabel. 

Mariota had a 29-32 record in 61 games as a starter with 13,207 passing yards, 76 touchdowns, and 44 interceptions.

Then he was benched and was considered the scapegoat for the Titans problems. Still, after being benched, Mariota was a consummate professional until the end. Head coach Mike Vrabel praised Mariota's professionalism throughout the season. Basically, Vrabel was just happy Mariota didn't make his life difficult. 

Mariota signed with the Las Vegas Raiders where he hopes to find stability while getting a chance to compete for the starting position in Las Vegas, but he knows that it is David Carr's team going in.

[RELATED]: Marcus Mariota reveals why he signed with the Las Vegas Raiders

Mariota deserved more. He deserved better. And hopefully he'll get that with the Raiders.