Another day, another piece of hardware for Marcus Mariota’s trophy case.
But his latest addition isn’t exactly your ordinary trophy. It’s the Heisman Trophy. It’s awarded to the most outstanding player in college football. It’s ultimate individual honor a player can receive.
So when Mariota heard his name called Saturday night at the Best Buy Theater in New York City as the award’s 80th winner, it solidified the Oregon quarterback’s permanent spot in college football history.
The redshirt junior’s amazing and nearly-flawless season gave him the edge in the eyes of the voters over the other finalists, receiver Amari Cooper of Alabama and running back Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin.
It capped a rather productive week for Mariota, who at Thursday’s College Football Awards took home the Maxwell Award as the college player of the year, the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award and the Walter Camp Player of the Year honor.
Here’s all you need to know about Mariota and his Heisman-winning season:
1. Mariota Edged Out Amari Cooper And Melvin Gordon For The Heisman
Mariota’s 53 total touchdowns (38 passing, 14 rushing, 1 receiving) and nearly error-free play as the quarterback for the No. 2 team in the country were too much for voters to overlook. While Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon put up eye-popping and nation-leading numbers as well, Mariota had a season for the ages.
2. Mariota is The 1st Oregon Player to Win The Heisman
Mariota became the first player from Oregon to win the Heisman Trophy. In fact, the only other Ducks player who has been a Heisman finalist was former quarterback Joey Harrington, who finished 4th in the 2001 voting.
Oregon has a rich history of quarterbacks, including Norm Van Brocklin (1947-48), Dan Fouts (1970-72) and Bill Musgrave (1987-90). Van Brocklin and Fouts are both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Statistically, Mariota is head and shoulders above the rest.
Since 2000, mostly quarterbacks have entered the most exclusive club in college football. With Mariota’s win, 13 of the past 15 winners have been signal callers.
Also with Mariota’s win, juniors have won 15 of the 80 Heismans.
3. Mariota And Johnny Manziel Both Committed to Oregon in 2010
According to this Washington Post story, Johnny Manziel and Mariota both verbally committed to Oregon the summer before their high school senior seasons in 2010. Neither were top-rated recruits, but former Oregon coach Chip Kelly saw the potential of the two in his fast-paced offense.
Manziel eventually received an official offer from Texas A&M, accepted it, then won the 2012 Heisman. Manziel never got an official offer from Oregon.
Mariota stuck with his Oregon commitment (the only other offer he received was from Memphis) and we know the rest.
What would have happened if Manziel kept his commitment and enrolled in Eugene? Who knows. But the eventual arrangement seemed to work out for both Manziel and Mariota.
4. The Rose Bowl Will Feature The Past 2 Heisman Winners
The inaugural College Football Playoffs are giving us some highly-anticipated matchups, and the Rose Bowl just got a bit juicier. That’s because both offenses will be led by the past 2 Heisman winners.
2013 winner Jameis Winston is looking to keep his unbeaten collegiate streak going when his No. 3 Florida State Seminoles meet Mariota and the second-ranked Ducks on Jan. 1. The other semifinal pits No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.
No word yet on whether Mariota will be invited to the Late Show With David Letterman to read the Top 10 list or not. But after seeing Winston’s go at it, Mariota’s got a tough act to follow.
5. Mariota Absolutely Deserved to Win The Heisman
I already mentioned above Mariota’s 53 total touchdowns and the honors he received at Thursday’s College Football Awards show. Earlier in the week he won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award. He was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and garnered first-team all-conference honors again (for the 3rd-straight season). He also was the inaugural winner of the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award.
First-team All-America is next.
Then maybe the top overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Mariota’s season and career accomplishments are too long to list here. So thanks to the staffers at goducks.com for this thorough compilation of Mariota’s Oregon highlights.