Pro Football Focus asked Twitter one simple question Tuesday afternoon: Who is the best college quarterback of the decade?
The best college quarterback of the decade? pic.twitter.com/yPlEwQm9N9— PFF College (@PFF_College) June 24, 2020
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.
Mariota for sure. He’s the best CFB QB on here. Burrow had a legendary season but what Mariota did over 3 years was incredible.— k a l e b (@kbrumby_) June 24, 2020
-11,000 passing yds
- 2,200 rushing yds
- 29 rushing TDs https://t.co/4oTluMJ5X4
Career I’d go Mariota. 105TDs/14INT plus 2200 rushing yards and 29 TDs in three years is nuts.— Greg Smith (@GregSmithHV) June 24, 2020
One year though, give me Cam Newton. https://t.co/DA77I4UXNn
Mariota was so good in college for three seasons. Dude threw 105 TDs to 14 INT while rushing for 2200 yards and 29 TD.— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) June 24, 2020
Y2 in the NFL looked promising, but sigh. https://t.co/ICvIKMUh6c
As some might remember, Oregon at one point had Manziel and Mariota both committed to attend college in Eugene before Manziel changed his mind.
Manziel flipped his commitment from UO to TAMU after Mariota committed. So even Manziel didn’t believe he was better than Mariota. pic.twitter.com/7PCNzTEODq— Kevin Derrickson (@KevinDerrickson) June 24, 2020
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.
Be sure to download and listen for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football