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What They're Saying About Marcus Mariota

Posted Apr 30, 2015

See what Marcus Mariota's coaches at Oregon and ESPN analyst Jon Gruden had to say about the former Ducks QB.


"You're getting Marcus. It's a one-word description for us of all those things that make him who he is. That's, at this stage of the game, the total package."

"He's really smart, really smart and all the other tangible things are there. There's a lot of 'can't miss' guys that have missed at the next level, because it's hard. But Marcus as a person, as a player is as well equipped as anyone."

"He's a quiet guy, he's a humble guy. The great part about it is he's still a humble guy, but he's developed all of those things as a leader and hasn't changed at all as a person."

"He was our best practice player from Day 1, he was our most competitive practice player from Day 1. He just got a little more vocal every year, almost every single day, by developing the confidence, getting out of his shell. In his culture, that's not what you do. You don't show up on Day 1 and tell other people what to do. You show up and you work. And all that did is getting every single teammate in position, every coach, every administrator in position to do whatever that guy would ask."

"They (Mariota's teammates) would do anything -- anything -- and that's offense, defense, special teams, redshirt senior or true freshman, whoever it was. And sometimes, he would yell -- I believe he's even cursed a couple times. I know that's a shocking development. But Marcus' style is to work first and talk second. And he's gonna put his arm around you first, and try to figure out how to know each individual best and communicate with them most effectively, and go from there."

"A lot of times, that's all it took -- 'Hey, we need you to do A, B or C,' and it happened. Absolutely, sometimes, he's loud and yelling at one guy or one unit or the entire team. That sometimes gets misunderstood."

"Our whole thing (at Oregon) is getting the ball to a playmaker in space, and obviously at the NFL level you have to be able to process that quickly because the space is shrunk. The athletes are bigger, faster, stronger. Defensive guys are playing much tighter and differently. That's where his accuracy shows."

"He sees the field really well. He processes things almost too quickly for his own good sometimes -- his eyes or his brain are on that third or fourth thing in the progression and his feet are still on No. 1. That's where he's had a couple -- and we're nitpicking the most efficient passer in college football history -- issues, where his feet are off-balance. And it's, 'He was 9-for-9, but on the 10th, he missed that throw.' "

"Our system has aspects of a lot of systems. We're not a quote-unquote spread offense that says, 'Hey, throw it here; and if not, run.' We don't do that. He has split-field reads. He has full-field reads. He has coverage-based reads -- go to this, based on man or zone. All of those things. All the things that NFL teams run, he's been exposed to. Is it a mirror of any system in the NFL? Absolutely not. And nobody else is, either. There are a lot of 'can't-miss' guys who've missed on the next level, because it's hard."

"I cannot imagine a person more suited to being a franchise quarterback or to lead a team. I guarantee he'll have an enormous impact wherever he ends up going."

ESPN ANALYST JON GRUDEN (during national pre-draft conference call)

"I don't understand why he isn't the No. 1 player in this draft on Mel Kiper's Big Board. I don't know anybody in this draft that can do for a football team what Mariota can do."

"Mariota is the same size as Jameis Winston. He runs 4.52 40, he is incredibly elusive, and man, is he a playmaker and a great competitor. I see him functioning in the pocket, out of the pocket, and if you want to run a zone-read, he'll rip the defense apart. He is like Russell Wilson, only he is 6-4."

"I'm impressed with his mental quickness, his arm quickness and his physical body quickness. His scramble ability is another thing. His second reaction plays are really unscripted. It's exciting."

“He’s eager to learn, compete and prove to people he can play. He is very sharp, passionate about the game. He can remember everything you put on a chalkboard over several hours and he can go out and execute it quickly.”

“I think Ken Whisenhunt has proven over the years that he can adapt to Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner and a young man like Zach Mettenberger. It’s up to the staff of the entire organization, if they go with a young quarterback, to make sure they give him the proper training and put him out there when they see fit. But I’m confident Mariota will be a fit in any offense.”

“We all have, I think, a perfect world of what offense we’d want to run. But if you do choose Marcus Mariota, he’s going to bring a unique skill set to you. Running quarterback-driven, running-type option plays can be part of it.”


"When he was a freshman I remarked, 'This kid's going to win the Heisman. He's a special young man and he's a hell of a football player and he deserves it."

"He's a special player, and he's just got a gift for playing football. He's everything you want. He can throw the ball, he can run. He's the most talented kid I coached in college."

"He might be the fastest guy on the field, but his mind is even faster. He thinks like Peyton Manning."