The decision by Marcus Mariota to bypass the 2014 NFL Draft and return to Oregon for his redshirt junior season was a decision that was met with a great deal of surprise from outsiders looking in, especially considering he was the potential No. 2 overall pick.
However, Mariota said at Wednesday’s Pac-12 Media Days that the decision wasn’t all that difficult.
“A lot of things played into it. First and foremost, I wanted to get my degree. My family has always valued my education. My major (general sciences) factored into me coming back,” Mariota said via NFL.com. “Secondly I just wanted to come back and enjoy college. You experience so many things and I wasn’t ready to leave that yet.”
The decision may be a no-brainer for most when given the opportunity to be financially set for life, but the chance to complete his degree and enjoy college, something he’ll never be able to replicate when he does decide to leave Oregon, is something that should be respected.
At 6-4, 215-pounds and possessing a dual-threat skill-set, Mariota will be a high pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, although he has yet to confirm just yet if this will be his final season, but he recognizes he has plenty to work on before his NFL career begins.
“I learned last year that my footwork played a lot into my accuracy and consistency. I wanted to focus on that this offseason and to just focus on some snaps under center,” said Mariota. “I do play in a spread offense and in order to translate into the NFL, I’ll have to take snaps under center. I’m just getting my feet wet in that regard.”
An extra season worked out just well for former Stanford quarterback, Andrew Luck, but the same can’t be said for former USC quarterback, Matt Barkley.
Mariota is hoping he can follow the path set by the Luck and be a No. 1 overall pick and avoid the pitfalls that accompanied Barkley’s return to USC.