A decade after his debut, Marcus Mariota is beginning to understand his Oregon impact
"I really believe that I represent Hawaii and Eugene, because I feel like those are the places that really made me who I am.”
The things that change are always the easiest to notice.
With Marcus Mariota, it’s the hair. In the 10 years since his first start with the Oregon Ducks, the former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback’s black locks have become speckled with gray. He’s 28 now, a 7-year NFL veteran with a wife, career ups-and-downs and a third professional home in Atlanta.
He met with Oregon media via Zoom Monday for the first time in years and I’m sure he, too, took a look around and noticed how much things have changed as he greeted a bunch of new faces with a friendly, “How are you all doing?”
And that felt familiar. So, too, did a bit of the fire in which Mariota spoke about his Ducks. The Atlanta starting quarterback will be in the building Saturday afternoon when No. 11 Oregon meets No. 3 Georgia in Atlanta. He’s serving as an honorary captain for UO, which has made great radio fodder as the local stations get to know their new starting quarterback.
“I did a radio show a couple of weeks back and he looks at me and his question to me was, ‘Do you think they’ll cover,’” Mariota said of Oregon, the 17.5-point underdogs. “That was the most disrespectful question I’ve gotten in the last few years. They’re all talking about them covering. [The Ducks] are going to be competitive. I really truly believe they have a chance to win.”
He believes in the Ducks because he’s starting to believe in Dan Lanning.