As college football is about to enter bowl season, Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota made a surprise announcement. He will be returning to Oregon next season, and not entering the 2014 NFL Draft.
“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,” said Mariota, via GoDucks.com. “I look forward to earning my degree next year and to the rest of my career at this great University.”
Mariota could also be looking to pursue that elusive national championship. Oregon were near the top of the polls for most of the year before being upset by a No. 5 Stanford team. Since then they’ve also lost to an unranked Arizona team.
Mariota is considered a Heisman Trophy candidate and has posted solid numbers this season. He has completed 227 of 360 passes (63.1%) for 3,412 yards. He has also thrown 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Mariota has also rushed 81 times for 582 yards and nine touchdowns.
Mariota has run less this season than in 2012 and thrown more as he looked to prove himself as a quarterback and not just a read-option dual threat. There was also the transition from Chip Kelly’s offense when he left for the NFL in the offseason.