Perhaps the least surprising announcement from the class of underclassmen has finally been made. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota will forgo his senior season in Eugene and enter the 2015 NFL Draft.
Mariota is widely expected to be among the first players chosen in the draft, and could end up being the first pick in the draft. One of the top two quarterbacks in a relatively light quarterback draft, Mariota will not last very long as one NFL franchise will look to make him their next face of the franchise.
Mariota leaves behind quite a legacy at Oregon, although it is one that ends without a national championship victory. Mariota led the Ducks to the first College Football Playoff championship game following a victory over defending BCS national champion Florida State in the Rose Bowl, but Mariota and Oregon were defeated by Ohio State for the national championship in the first season of the new playoff format. Mariota does leave Oregon as the owner of multiple passing records for the school and the Pac-12. Mariota owns the Pac-12 records for most career touchdowns with 135, a single-season passing record for yards (5,224 yards in 2014) and touchdowns (58 total touchdowns in 2014) as well as the Pac-12 freshman touchdown record with 32 touchdowns in 2012. He will forever be regarded as one of the most accurate passers in Oregon and Pac-12 history, owning the Pac-12 record for most pass attempts without an interception.
Mariota accumulated over 13,000 yards of total offense, including nearly 11,000 through the air. He also owns the school record for passing touchdowns with 105 and the single-season passing touchdown record with 42 in 2014.
Mariota has been invited to participate in the Senior Bowl but has yet to accept an invitation. It is expected he will do so to participate in the game and fill a roster spot.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers currently hold the top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.