Hawaii's Heisman: Mariota's whirlwind ride - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii's Heisman: Mariota's whirlwind ride

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Two weeks ago, Marcus Mariota was in the small northwest enclave of Eugene, Oregon, enjoying the life he's known since the start of college.

Sunday, he awakened in heart of New York City, forever changed.

“It's hard not to get emotional, because it's been a long journey” he said after an exhaustive week which came to a climax Saturday night in the most dramatic, New York way possible.

Along the way to winning the Heisman, Marcus has evolved, quieting questioners who wondered aloud about his leadership skills.

“People respond to different things and sometimes showing somebody you care means so much more than yelling at them”.

That style is so fitting for a young man whose skills put his face on the marquee, but whose humility keeps his feet on the ground.

Over the course of this dizzying week, Marcus has appeared in almost every venue imaginable. Come Monday, he'll add another to the list; appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman.

“I really just tried to enjoy it and look around because like this only come once” he said.

Like all the bright lights of Times Square, there is a lot to take in because winning the Heisman is more than just symbolic. It's reportedly worth almost a million dollars in future endorsements, speaking engagements and other fringe benefits.

Not that it matters to Marcus. In his post-award press conference, a reporter asked – somewhat rhetorically – if Marcus would trade all the awards he's won for a national championship. Marcus' response, much like the win itself, was predictable.

“Of course, that wouldn't even be a question”.

That journey begins in the national semifinals New Year's Day against Florida State and last year's Heisman winner, Jameis Winston, in the national semifinals.

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