How does Marcus Mariota stack up with recent Heisman QBs?


Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is going to win the Heisman Trophy tonight. The only question, they say, is by how much. (And if he doesn’t, some say, the award means nothing.)

We’re not here to speculate about vote totals – the Heisman folks have put that cottage industry out of business – but we can see how Mariota stacks up again recent Heisman-winning quarterbacks.

For purposes of this study, we’ll look at Heisman winning quarterbacks since 2000 and, to account for different styles of offense and the overall evolution of football over the past decade and a half, try to measure things on a per play basis as much as possible.

First, let’s recap the Heisman-winning signal callers since 2000, when college football’s most prestigious honor shifted to becoming a much more quarterback-centric award:

2000 – Chris Weinke, Florida State
2001 – Eric Crouch, Nebraska
2002 – Carson Palmer, USC
2003 – Jason White, Oklahoma
2004 – Matt Leinart, USC
2006 – Troy Smith, Ohio State
2007 – Tim Tebow, Florida
2008 – Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
2010 – Cam Newton, Auburn
2011 – Robert Griffin III, Baylor
2012 – Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
2013 – Jameis Winston, Florida State

Without further ado:

Passing Efficiency
1. Griffin – 189.5
2. Mariota – 186.3
3. Winston – 184.9
4. Newton – 182.1
5. Bradford – 180.8

Yards Per Attempt
1. Griffin – 10.7
2. Winston – 10.6
3. Mariota – 10.2
Newton – 10.2
5. Bradford – 9.8

Completion Percentage
1. Griffin – 72.4
2. Mariota – 68.3
3. Manziel – 68.0
4. Bradford – 67.9
5. Winston – 66.9
Tebow – 66.9

Touchdown Percentage
1. Newton – 10.7
2. Bradford – 10.4
3. Mariota – 10.2
4. Winston – 9.6
Smith – 9.6

Interception Percentage
1. Mariota – 0.5
2. Griffin – 1.5
Leinart – 1.5
4. Bradford – 1.7
Tebow – 1.7

Yards Per Carry
1. Manziel – 7.0
2. Mariota – 5.7
3. Newton – 5.6
4. Crouch – 5.5
5. Tebow – 4.3

Rushing Touchdown Percentage
1. Mariota – 12.0
2. Bradford – 11.9
3. Tebow – 11.0
4. Manziel – 10.4
5. Crouch – 8.9

Yards Per Play
1. Mariota – 9.1
Winston – 9.1
Bradford – 9.1
4. Weinke – 8.8
5. Griffin – 8.6

(Mariota breaks the tie by averaging 9.11 yards per play, slightly ahead of Winston at 9.08 and Bradford at 9.06.)

Touchdown Percentage
1. Mariota – 10.8
2. Bradford – 10.5
3. Tebow – 9.8
4. Newton – 9.3
5. White – 8.3

For the record, Mariota’s stats this year stand at 254-of-372 passing for 3,773 yards with 38 touchdowns and two interceptions to go with 117 rushes for 669 yards and 14 touchdowns, plus one reception for a 26-yard touchdown. While his total numbers don’t stack up to every-snap workhorses like Tebow, Newton and Manziel – Manziel averaged a full 10 more touches a game than Mariota this season, and Newton had twice as many rushes – Mariota gets more done with the touches he gets. Mariota nearly produces a first down every play, and registers a touchdown every 10 touches.

Mariota is the only quarterback to show up in all nine of our hand-picked statistics. All in all, No. 8 either holds his own or surpasses the very best quarterbacks that the Golden Age of Offense has to offer, and his 2014 campaign sets a new standard for dual-threat efficiency.

Oh, and one more thing. Taking the spread offense back a decade is just simply unfair, like bringing an AK-47 to the Revolutionary War.

Two Rutgers players tweet decisions to transfer from Scarlet Knights

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Even as the Rutgers football program adds transfers, Greg Schiano‘s new squad is losing them through the same process.

Friday evening, wide receiver Mohamed Jabbie announced on Twitter that he has decided to transfer from the Rutgers football team.  Just a few hours later, teammate and offensive lineman Michael Maietti (pictured) used the same social-media platform to announce a similar decision.

Both Jabbie and Maietti will be leaving the Scarlet Knights as graduate transfers.  The loss of the latter, though, will likely leave the biggest mark.

The past three seasons, Maietti has started 33 games at center for the Scarlet Knights.  The New Jersey native earned Academic All-Big Ten honors each of the last three seasons.

Appearing in 27 games, Jabbie started 12 of those contests.

This past season, Jabbie set career-highs in catches (14), receiving yards (149) and receiving touchdowns (one).  He will apparently finish his Rutgers football career with 182 yards and a touchdown on 18 receptions.

CB Tony Butler posts classy, heartfelt goodbye in announcing transfer from Nebraska

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Thanks to a Nebraska football player, we won’t have to go through an entire day without a portal post.  Hurray?

Late this past week, Tony Butler announced in a very classy, heartfelt post on Twitter that he will be entering the NCAA transfer database.  The move would serve as the first step in a departure from the Nebraska football program.

The cornerback could also return to the Nebraska football team if he so desires.

That said, Butler would be leaving the Cornhuskers as a graduate transfer.  The 2020 season will be his final year of collegiate eligibility.

“In 2016, I came here as an 18-year-old kid lost and looking for a home.  Nebraska, you became my home and brought me in with open arms,” Butler wrote. “This place became very special. …

“Nebraska, you have done an incredible job at helping a lost boy become a man.  My family and I are forever grateful for this opportunity.”

A three-star 2016 signee, Butler was rated as the No. 22 player regardless of position in the state of Ohio.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman.

The past three seasons, Butler played in 27 games.  Four of those appearances came in 2019, which was likely the trigger for the decision to transfer.  Most of the games played came on special teams.

Butler is the third player to leave the Nebraska football program in a week.

Linebacker Pernell Jefferson, a three-star 2016 signee, entered the portal Wednesday.  Days before that, offensive lineman John Raridon decided to retire from football to pursue a career in architecture.

Five-star Penn State WR Justin Shorter tweets transfer to Florida

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The Florida Gators football program is the latest to benefit from Ye Olde Transfer Portal.

In late November, Justin Shorter took the initial step in transferring from Penn State by entering the NCAA database.  Two months to the day later, the wide receiver took to Twitter to announce that he has committed to continuing his collegiate playing career as part of the Florida Gators football team.

As of yet, UF has not announced Shorter’s addition to the roster.

A five-star member of the Nittany Lions’ 2018 recruiting class, Shorter was rated as the No. 1 receiver in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in the state of New Jersey; and the No. 8 recruit overall on‘s composite board.  Only defensive end Micah Parsons was rated higher than Shorter in Franklin’s class that year.

Limited to four games as a true freshman in large part because of injuries, Shorter caught three passes for 20 yards in 2018.  In 11 games this season, Shorter caught 12 passes for 137 yards.

Barring the unexpected, Shorter will have to sit out the 2020 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws.  He would then have two seasons of eligibility beginning in 2021.

World of college football reacts to tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old daughter in helicopter crash

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As is the case across the entire world of sports, college football is reacting to the devastating news involving Kobe Bryant.

Sunday morning, Bryant was one of nine people killed — initial reports had the number at five — in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on his way to a travel basketball event.  The former NBA superstar, who retired from the sport following the 2015-16 season, was 41.

Adding to the devastation, one of Bryant’s daughters, who was also a player on her father’s travel basketball team, 13-year-old Gianna Maria Bryant, was killed in the crash as well.

Kobe and Gianna are survived by wife/mother Vanessa and three daughters/sisters.  The oldest is 17, the youngest will turn one in June.

In the hours after the heartbreaking news was confirmed, the world of college football mourned the passing of Kobe Bryant. Below is just a sampling.