Two days after coming up short against Ohio State for the national Championship, Oregon superstar and 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota is taking his game to the NFL. On Wednesday Mariota released a statement through the school’s website announcing his intentions.

“After meeting with my family I have decided to forgo 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. I cannot thank Coach Kelly, Coach Helfrich, Coach Frost, the rest of the Oregon coaches and the support staff enough for molding me as a person, player and student-athlete.

“The support I received from the university, the city of Eugene and Duck fans has been tremendous. I will always remember the great times and support I received. Once a Duck always a Duck. I will miss being with my teammates. Being a part of this team was something special that I will always treasure.”

Mariota set a Pac-12 Conference record with 58 total touchdowns this season, is thought to be one of the top overall prospects and quarterback in this year’s draft class along with FSU’s Jameis Winston.

Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich commented on Mariota.

“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 in a statement. “He’s given this program everything we could have asked, and he’ll be the standard by which others are judged. Mahalo.”

Mariota had 42 passing touchdowns in 2014, 15 on the ground and one touchdown receptions on his way to becoming the first Duck to win a Heisman Trophy. Mariota and Oregon came up one game short from a perfect season, losing to Ohio State 42-20 last Monday night.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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macabee
macabee
6 years ago

The Tampa Bay Times headline says ‘BYE DUCKS, HI BUCS”. Maybe, just maybe! This my last post on the Winston/Mariota debate until April 30th. I’m not bailing out of frustration. It’s because the debate is tantamount to choosing between Kate Upton and Gisele Bunchken (sorry Tom) – two different body types but by any standard – premium. When I go back and look at the Bucs’ QB play from last season, I would take any one of these QBs and never look back. That’s not necessarily high praise because at this point, I would take any QB that’s got a… Read more »

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  macabee
6 years ago

Mac, I wasn’t sure if you were being literal or not when you said Lovie has final say over the 56 man roster but that’s not true. I think that was based on perception since Lovie was hired first. During the last offseason Licht was being interviewed sitting right next to Lovie and Licht said that they would agree on the players they brought in. If Lovie liked a player but Licht didn’t he wasn’t coming to Tampa and vice versa. I think it’s a 50-50 partnership they have both bought into. Even if by some remote chance that changed… Read more »

jongruden
jongruden
6 years ago

I have been a Bucs fan for 30 yrs and supported many crappy qb’s in that time, Joe Ferguson, Shaun King, Bruce Gradkowski, Byron Leftwich, just to name a few but if the Bucs dont take a qb and they select a Lineman with the first pick and march Glennon or McCown out on the field next yr I’m gone and will become a Cards Fan where I now reside.

Iabucfan
Iabucfan
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

I agree, jongruden. I also have been a Bucs for about 30 years. You look at the 4 teams in the Championship games this weekend, what do they have in common? A franchise quarterback!!! I believe Coach Smith and Mr. Licht won’t pass up this opportunity to get a franchise quarterback. They don’t know when that opportunity will come again. Take it now while you got it! Go Bucs!

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  jongruden
6 years ago

Well jon, you are two for two today. I am in the same line of thought, if they march either of those two qbs out next year, it just proves they have zero clue what’s going on. I mean if glennon is the future as Lovie likes to say, then why on the hell wasn’t he finishing the season last year?

pinkstob
pinkstob
6 years ago

Well, I’m obviously glad he declared. The only steps left for him and Winston are medical tests, 40 times, interviews and pro days. Winston will run between 4.7-4.8 and Mariota will run between 4.4-4.5 in the 40 from what I have seen on the field. I don’t expect to hear any surprises from any of those so whoever the Glazers, Licht and Lovie like now will be who they like on draft day.

KINDERRT
KINDERRT
6 years ago

I’m also a season ticket holder for over twenty years and if they don’t take a QB with the first pick I also will be gone. My choice for QBQ is Winston but I will support Mariota if they select him instead. The last ten to twelve years they have never picked the player I wanted. That means there is a good chance they take Mariota. The Buc’s have been well known to blow drafts from picking Bo Jackson when he told them he didn’t want to play for them to not picking A Peterson when he was available to… Read more »

surferdudes
surferdudes
6 years ago

I don’t care what’s in his contract, this decision will be the Glazers. They own the team, they can light their smokes with Lovies contract. They want at least a chance on a franchise Q.B.. Which one is the debate, but make no mistake , it will be a Q.B..

macabee
macabee
Reply to  surferdudes
6 years ago

Surfer,

I understand and appreciate the emotion behind your response. You know that would be a league (NFL Office) issue. No owner is going to violate a contract.

georgehicks
georgehicks
6 years ago

This is George Hicks who grewup in Tampa in the 60’s I’ve seen QB’s come and go. I say trade down with NYJets and still get Jameis Winston.The Jets should give up their #2 &#4 as well as a no.1 or a no#2 next year.This would give TAMPA BAY 11 picks this year. I think if you look at the past season, That a play here and a play their Tampa shouldn’t be at NO#1. But Bucs Fans we are. Lets get either QB at no#1 or trade down at #6. If Winston is gone. HOW ABOUT QB BRETT HUNDLEY… Read more »

bucism1
bucism1
6 years ago

ok here’s the real issue…we have two great college quarterbacks…but in my humble opinion neither one of them really translates to a great nfl type franchise quarterback…so basically the bucs are screwed – both can play in the nfl, however neither one of them is the next andrew luck…it’s a bucs life people – and we have first pic in the draft and are essentially screwed – go figure…adam from ny

scubog
scubog
6 years ago

Mariota declaring for the Draft is not a surprise at all. He’s smart enough to know his stock couldn’t be any higher at this point in his career. We now have two QB’s available for the QB starved team we all love. We can continue to debate the virtues of each as Colts fans did with Manning and Leaf. Like now, there was no slam dunk, can’t miss choice because each had their flaws. Similarly with the Alex Smith Aaron Rodgers arguments whose traits resemble those of our current duo. This is what makes the Draft so much fun leading… Read more »