Now that the Oregon Ducks lost the college football championship to the Ohio State Buckeyes 42-20 on Monday, Christian quarterback Marcus Mariota has decided to end his collegiate run and pursue a career in the NFL.
The Heisman trophy recipient made the announcement Wednesday on his team's official website. According to Rob Moseley of GoDucks.com, the junior quarterback filed paperwork that would make him eligible for the 2015 NFL draft.
"After meeting with my family I have decided to forego my final year of eligibility and apply for the 2015 NFL Draft," Mariota said. "My four years at the University of Oregon have been an awesome experience."
Mariota thanked the Oregon coaches and support staff for molding him "as a person, player and student-athlete."
"The support I received from the University, the city of Eugene and Duck fans has been tremendous," Mariota said. "I will always remember the great times and support I received. Once a Duck, always a Duck."
As for his teammates, Mariota added that "being a part of this team was something special that I will always admire."
The Associated Press reported that Mariota was the humble leader of Oregon's high-flying offense for three seasons. Oregon coach Mark Helfrich commented on Mariota's departure.
"It's been an honor to watch Marcus develop over the last four years, and I'm excited to see what his future holds," Helfrich said. "He's given this program everything we could have asked, and he'll be the standard by which others are judged. Mahalo."
GoDucks.com noted that Mariota led the Ducks to a 36-5 record and passed for a touchdown in all 41 career stats, setting an NCAA record.
"He became the first player in Pac-12 history to account for 5,000 yards of total offense in a single season, reaching 5,224 on Monday in the title game, and he became the first player in FBS history to finish a season with a plus-50 ratio of touchdowns (58) to turnovers (seven)," Moseley wrote.
In addition to pursuing and finishing his general science degree during his time at Oregon, Moseley added that outside of the football field, Mariota regularly mentored local youth at the Boys and Girls Club of Emerald Valley, Ore.
According to the Associated Press, the Heisman recipient was a three-star recruit for the Ducks out of St. Louis High School in Honolulu. He never forgot about his roots back in Hawaii.
"His helmet facemask was designed to include the numbers 8-0-8 in a nod to the state's area code, and following the national championship his family gifted him with stacks of leis that he wore in the locker room," the Associated Press wrote.
As for his legacy at Oregon, Mariota told the Associated Press before Monday's final college football game that he would trade his Heisman trophy for a national championship. Oregon still lost, despite the fact he threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns in the final game.
"My main focus was to be a great teammate," Mariota said after the game. "That's all I hoped to accomplish. I don't really care about legacies."
According to the Associated Press, Mariota is the second player from Oregon to declare for the NFL draft with eligibility left. His teammate, defensive lineman Arik Armstead, also filed paperwork for this year's draft on Tuesday.