Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was awarded the Heisman Trophy Saturday in New York City, beating out rival finalists Amari Cooper and Melvin Gordon. The 21-year-old from Honolulu, whose exceptional season as a junior quarterback lifted the Ducks profile on a national level, was widely considered the favorite over his fellow frontrunners. He is the first player in the Pac-12 Conference outside the University of Southern California to take home college football’s highest honor since 1970.
"Obviously, I had dreams about it," Mariota said, according to USA Today. "Every kid that plays football wants to be a part of this ceremony. For me, this is really a dream come true, and I'm really thankful to be here." Oregon faces last year’s Heisman winner and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and in the Rose Bowl Jan. 1 in Pasadena, California.
Mariota has had the fewest interceptions per attempt of any college quarterback in the country, and leads the Football Bowl Subdivision in passing efficiency, USA Today reported. Mariota’s 2014 season included 38 touchdowns passes, 3,783 passing yards, 669 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground, according to ESPN.
His winning the Heisman Trophy was one of several accolades handed to Mariota in the past week. On Thursday, Mariota walked away with three awards in New York, first winning the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, followed by the Maxwell Award for college player of the year. Finally, Mariota was selected to receive the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. “Given the unreasonably high expectations Mariota faced to start the season, it’s astonishing to realize that he has met virtually all of them,” Sports Illustrated reported.