Hawaii's Heisman Hopeful: Marcus Mariota’s meteoric rise - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii's Heisman Hopeful: Marcus Mariota’s meteoric rise

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

It's hard to imagine Marcus Mariota going from a 1-year starter at St Louis to the all-time leader at Oregon. But that's exactly how his career has unfolded.

Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich distinctly remembers recruiting Marcus, aka: ‘the other guy'. He was at St. Louis School, recruiting another player. Turns out, Marcus was the one who impressed him the most.

"It was obviously apparent that the other guy was a good player, but there was something different about this other guy". It was like a movie, just getting to know the aura of Marcus, and when you showed up at school and asked every person they lit up and rose up and told the tale of his academic prowess, his character, his humility".

The anecdotes helped Helfrich zero in on the type of person he was. His eyes told him everything he needed to know about the athlete he is. Listed at 6'4", 219lbs, Marcus is a blend of speed, grace, athleticism, and precision.

"Somebody you just can't stop. He just has everything. From our side of the ball it's frustrating at practice, you just kind of look at him and say 'we don't have any answers for that" said linebacker Isaac Ava, a teammate of Marcus' at both St Louis and Oregon.

To be sure, the Ducks offensive system is partly responsible for his gaudy statistics (3103 pass yds, 32 pass TD, 2 INT; 597 rush yds, 9 rush TD). Marcus has flourished in the Ducks up-tempo attack. Though he's set numerous school and conference records, he credits those around him for making the offense click.

"The best comparison I can have as a quarterback is you're kind of the point guard of a fast break offense. There are so many playmakers around here you just have to dink and dunk and let those guys make the plays".

This year, Marcus has added a new wrinkle to his game.

"He's been working on being more vocal and this year he's done a really good job keeping the guys into it" said Defensive End DeForest Buckner, who battled Marcus in high school as a star for Punahou.

"From teaching me where to line up and how to run they plays to being a leader off the field, he's been a great example. I hope that's something we can all take from him" added freshman Running Back Royce Freeman.

Perhaps it's his laid back personality, or just that his game speaks for him, but Marcus doesn't feel the need to emote or celebrate in an overt fashion. However, misjudging that calm demeanor for a lack of fire is a gross miscalculation.

"I'm one of those guys that's just super competitive. It doesn't matter what it is--cars, video games, I just have to find ways to win. I think my teammates realize that and to me that's all that matters."

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