When coaches and scouts are asked to describe Oregon Ducks Quarterback Marcus Mariota, the remarks are always in the highly positive. Mariota is described to be a leader on the field with great size, speed, and a cannon for an arm. Mariota was projected as a top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and barring any major injury or setback, will be a top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Mariota has led Oregon to a 23-3 record while at the helm of the Ducks up-tempo offense, and continues to improve his game by the year. With all of these attributes, you would think that Mariota is a sure fire winner of the 2014 Heisman Trophy, however that is not the case.
Here are five reasons why Marcus Mariota will not win the Heisman Trophy in 2014.
The first reason that Marcus Mariota will not be hoisting the Heisman Trophy this season is the fact that his best receivers are now in the NFL. The two top targets for Mariota in 2013, Josh Huff and DeAnthony Thomas, are now lighting up the fields in the NFL. The top returning receiver would have been Junior Bralon Addison, but he tore his ACL this past April. This means that there will be a whole new cast of in-experienced receivers that will have to learn the Ducks high powered offense, and are sure to make some mistakes along the way.
The next reason for Mariota not winning the highest award is due to the emergence of Oregon’s Junior Running Back Byron Marshall, and the Ducks solid rush attack. Marshall had a breakout season in 2013 rushing for over 1,038 yards, and is looking to continue that success in the 2014 season. Many are considering Marshall to be the top running back in the Pac 12 this season, and is sure to take the load off of Mariota’s shoulder.
The third reason is for the sheer fact that the Oregon Ducks play against arguably the best defenses in the NCAA in the 2014 season. The Pac 12 is projected to have several teams with a dominant defense this season, and most notably are led by the two-time Pac 12 champion Stanford Cardinal. In the past two seasons, Stanford has stymied the Ducks “Quack Attack”, and put a thorough beating on the Ducks star Quarterback. Teams in the Pac 12 have learned the best way to attack the Ducks is to play “smash mouth” football and control the clock.
Another very strong reason that Mariota will not win the Heisman this year is due to the fact that he is the most important player on this team, and any injury can devastate the chances for the Ducks this season. Due to this fact, his rushing total will surely drop this season and you will not see him run outside of the pocket as much as in years past. Most would think that Oregon Coach Mark Helfrich would like to keep his star Quarterback upright as much as possible, and will not call as many Quarterback running plays. All it would take is one nasty hit, and the Ducks season could be over before it begins.
The last and greatest reason that Marcus Mariota will not win the Heisman Trophy this season is that the defending Heisman champion Jameis Winston of Florida State is returning this season and is showing no signs of slowing down on his quest for back to back titles. Winston is leading a potent Florida State Seminoles attack, and looks to improve upon his already dominating 2013 campaign.
Marcus Mariota is a great player, will put up tremendous number in the 2014 season, and will surely lead his Oregon Ducks to a solid record, or possibly even into a Pac 12 title. However folks need to realize that the Pac 12 has two other experienced Quarterbacks that are poised to post similar statistics with more experienced teams. Brett Hundley of UCLA and Sean Mannion of Oregon State are ready to show what they can do in the spotlight, and will challenge Mariota for the top spot in the league. Mariota will need to prove that he is the true reason for the success of the Ducks, because at this point, there could even be an argument that he is not even the best Quarterback in the Pac 12.