'Mahalo Marcus' trending on social media as Mariota leaves Orego - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

'Mahalo Marcus' trending on social media as Mariota leaves Oregon for NFL draft

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Family, friends, fans of Marcus Mariota are clearly proud of him and while many in Oregon understandably would have loved to see him stick around for another season -- no one seems to have faulted him for seizing this opportunity with the NFL.

Crusaders pride is at an all-time high for alum Mariota.

"Marcus is such a hard worker. He's so focused and so driven and so committed -- once he makes his decision to do something, he goes 110%. We're very hopeful that the success he had at St. Louis and Oregon will continue on in the NFL. He can do it," said Scottie Gonsalves, the St. Louis High School Director of Student Affairs.

Mariota's former coach at Saint Louis says now was definitely the right time for the QB to make his move -- adding that Marcus will be a major asset to any team he ends up with, both on and off the field.

"The way he runs the way he throws and his leadership and I think as a person -- he's even more amazing as a person than he is with his athletic and quarterback skills," said coach Vinnie Passas.

It's not just those who know Mariota personally wanting to share their well-wishes, but fans from all over the state and nation are weighing in the local boy's choice.

"Knowing when to seize the opportunity is a sign of maturity" - wrote James Choi on Facebook.

Jade Young posted in part, "Best to enter the draft while he is healthy. I know his parents are so proud of his accomplishments, but more so of the young man he has become."

The University of Oregon released a touching tribute video following Mariota's Heisman victory -- with the slogan "Mahalo Marcus" -- and Wednesday that hashtag was trending on social media.

"Thank you for redefining excellence. Mahalo Marcus," Ducks football head coach Mark Helfrich tweeted.

For the player who collected more than half a dozen awards this year alone, but has repeatedly said he'd give up individual recognition for a national title with his teammates -- this message on Twitter: "For the first time in his career he put himself first and I couldn't be happier for him."

Former San Francisco 49-er Jesse Sapolu says Mariota's future with the NFL is bright.

"He's as ready as any kid that has come out in the last 10 - 15 years and a big part of that is his parents and his upbringing here in Hawaii. He's made Hawaii proud. He's made his family proud and we all can't wait to see - and I'm excited to see him at the next level," Sapolu said.

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