By Rob Moseley
EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon junior quarterback Marcus Mariota, winner of the Heisman Trophy for the 2014 season, has filed paperwork making himself eligible for the 2015 NFL draft, he announced Wednesday.
"After meeting with my family I have decided to forego my final year of eligibility and apply for the 2015 NFL Draft," Mariota said. "My four years at the University of Oregon have been an awesome experience. I cannot thank Coach Kelly, Coach Helfrich, Coach Frost, the rest of the Oregon coaches and the support staff enough for molding me as a person, player and student-athlete.
"The support I received from the University, the city of Eugene and Duck fans has been tremendous. I will always remember the great times and support I received. Once a Duck always a Duck.
"I will miss being with my teammates. Being a part of this team was something special that I will always treasure."
Mariota was the consensus national player of the year in college football for 2014, and led the Ducks to the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship game. He became just the second quarterback in school history to lead Oregon to three postseason wins, and was the first three-time first-team all-Pac-12 quarterback in conference history.
"It's been an honor to watch Marcus develop over the last four years, and I'm excited to see what his future holds," UO coach Mark Helfrich said. "He's given this program everything we could have asked, and he'll be the standard by which others are judged. Mahalo."
A three-year starter, Mariota led the Ducks to a 36-5 record, and set an NCAA record by passing for a touchdown in all 41 career starts. He became the first player in Pac-12 history to account for 5,000 yards of total offense in a single season, reaching 5,224 on Monday in the title game, and he became the first player in FBS history to finish a season with a plus-50 ratio of touchdowns (58) to turnovers (seven).
Along with achieving his general science degree over the past four years, Mariota was a regular presence at the Boys and Girls Club of Emerald Valley, mentoring local youth.