EUGENE, OREGON (HawaiiNewsNow) - Like so many defenders in his time at Oregon, Marcus Mariota effortlessly dismisses the Heisman hype surrounding him.
"It's a bigger picture, there's a lot more going on than just myself. I understand I represent so much more" he said.
Ever grounded, Mariota has relied on the advice of his friends and lessons of his parents to keep humble – and focused – as the Ducks hone in on a coveted playoff spot.
"I can't let that stuff get to my head. Just continue to focus, do my best, and represent everything the best that I can".
On the eve of what could be his final game in Autzen Stadium, the community rallied behind him.
"I think it would almost make him uncomfortable to have a huge campaign and attention drawn to him".
Blake Daggett is the general manager of The Cooler bar and grill. He has come to know and cherish Marcus' humble Hawaiian style through his parents.
"Marcus' parents actually come in here on game days. The come in, have breakfast".
Across town, Hawaii transplant Kawika Asam has come to know Marcus through food as well.
"He has his special the Mochiko Chicken, which he loves. He brings over a lot of St. Louis people, of course, the Crusaders".
Asam is the owner of Every Day Kine Grindz from Hawaii, a plate lunch wagon that has a strong following. He recognizes Mariota may be on to brighter lights and a bigger stage, but is thankful for all he has done in Eugene.
"When I first came here we were happy to win against USC, now USC is happy to win against us".