Oregon's football program was established in 1894. They have periods of greatness during the early 1900s and 1950s but they didn't become the National Powerhouse until the 2000 decade. Despite being one of the best programs on the west coast, they have never won a national title. And even with the high-powered offense they've possessed for the last 15 years, dating back to Akili Smith, none of their players have won the coveted Heisman Trophy, until now.
Marcus Mariota did something Akili Smith, Joey Harrington, Dennis Dixon, LaMichael James, and DeAnthony Thomas didn't accomplish and that is become the 1st ever Heisman winner in Oregon's history. As a redshirt Junior, Mariota had his best season, throwing 38 TDs, rushing for 14 TDs, and eclipsing 4,000 total yards. He received 788 1st place votes while Mevin Gordon and Amari Cooper had less than 50, which I thought was crazy. I have no problem with Mariota being the Heisman but I do think this should have been a closer Heisman race.
Mariota became the 9th QB to win the Maxwell, Davey O'Brien, and Heisman Awards all in the same year, last one to do it was Cameron Newton back in 2010. Mariota didn't dominate like Cam did but similar to Cam's run, it wasn't many other dominate QBs that could compare to Mariota. With Jamies Winston and Bryce Petty having a tough seasons, the Heisman was Mariota's for the taking.
Amari Cooper and Melvin Gordon were also deserving of the award for their stellar seasons. Gordon rushed for 2,336 yards and 24 TDs, while Amari Cooper had one of the best receiving season for wideout in SEC history, catching 115 passes, 1,656 yards, and 14 TDs. Gordon was second in votes with 1,250, while Cooper came in third with 1,023. Even though both came short of the Heisman I expect both to have better NFL careers than Mariota.
Some people still question how good Mariota really is. I think he is a very talented QB and perfect for Oregon's system. To call him overrated is way beyond reaching. Overrated players don't score 52 TDs, nor gain 4,000 total yards. He is fast, has a strong arm, very accurate, and rarely makes mistakes, only 2 INTs the whole year. He has great size for the league, standing at 6'4, I just think he needs the right system to flourish. NFL coaches should learn how to use his talents and not try to restrict him. If I had to compare him to player in the league right now it would be Colin Kaepernick, just because of their skill set and similar frame. Now that the individual awards are out the way, its time for Mariota to help his team claim their 1st National Championship.