Lucky Duckies: Mariota Re-Ups
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The Oregon Ducks seems to be following in a row.
Their electrifying quarterback Marcus Mariota -- listed on many NFL Draft sites as one of the top quarterbacks available if he declares -- announced that he will return to Duck U for another year.
- Maybe it's because of the distressing end to a promising season.
- Maybe he wants another shot at the Heisman Trophy.
- Maybe he wants a chance to go to the Rose Bowl or play for a National Championship.
- Maybe it's all of the above!
For much of the season Mariota was a leading prospect for the Heisman Trophy, but then a few Pac-12 defenses caught up with him. He was clearly playing on a hobbled knee during the loss to Stanford, but middle-of-the-Pac Arizona found a way to expose holes in his game, such as checking down on receivers in timing plays, a by-product of not reading pre-snap keys accurately. As a result, Mariota has decided to return to Oregon for his junior season.
Mariota is a third-year sophomore and is eligible to leave for the pros. He's been ranked as high as the No 3 overall player, but it's not gonna happen.
In choosing to stay, the Hawai'i native improves Oregon's odds of both reclaiming the Pac-12 championship and possibly going to the national championship playoffs next year. That would no doubt keep running back De'Anthony Thomas from being bored for a third straight season.
Whatever his actual reasons for staying on might be, one thing is certain. Mr Mariota is well schooled in the correct things to say. Or at least, he's compliant in consenting to what the PR wonks at Oregon pulled out of the vanilla section of the quote-template handbook:
"It is an honor to be a student at the University of Oregon and to have the opportunity to represent our institution on the football field alongside my teammates. I look forward to earning my degree next year and to the rest of my career at this great University."
The net result is the Ducks will remain as a top-tier force in the national scene next season.