Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has won the 80th Heisman Trophy, the first native Hawaiian to win the prestigious award. Wearing leis at the news conference, in his quiet and somewhat reserved manner, he said “In Hawaii, if one person is successful, the entire state is successful.”
That belief is something he’s brought with him to the Ducks. According to ESPN Stats & Information, “Mariota took home 90.9 percent of the possible points in the Heisman Trophy voting, the second-highest mark in the past 50 years.”
Mariota leads the nation in passing efficiency (186.3) and is responsible for a Pac-12 record of 53 touchdowns – 38 scoring passes, 14 rushing and one receiving. He’s also fifth in total offense (342.5 yards per game) and has led the Ducks to a Pac-12 title giving them a chance to play for their first national championship.
In the upcoming Rose Bowl Game (on January 1 at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN) Mariota will lead the No. 2 Ducks against 2013 Heisman winner Jameis Winston and the No. 3 Florida State. This will be the fourth time winners of the Heisman will meet each other on the gridiron.
But the Heisman isn’t Mariota’s only award. At the Home Depot College Football Awards Show this past Thursday in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, he also won the Maxwell Award as the most outstanding player in the U.S., the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award and the Walter Camp player of the year award, the first Oregon player to win each of the three awards.
Calling all of this surreal, Mariota said “Growing up as a kid you always kind of see these award shows. To say that I’m a part of really this fraternity – it’s really just a blessing.” He went on to say that this caps a long personal journey, saying that his teammates asked him to “kinda step up and be vocal and understand that my words can be powerful.”
Seven of the last eight O’Brien winners have gone on to win the Heisman so it’s not a big surprise that Mariota is adding to that number. But at a time when off-field bad behavior by athletes seems commonplace, perhaps the biggest surprise is just how nice he is.