The 2014 football season was a season of firsts for the Ducks and undoubtedly one that will be remembered as one of the greatest of all time. This off-season will be just as historic with the departure of Marcus Mariota and another potential first, the retiring of an Oregon Duck jersey.
Reported by Geoffrey Arnold of The Oregonian an online petition has been started, calling for the school to retire its first-ever jersey number. If there is a player that deserves the honor it is Mariota, who lead the Ducks to the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship and brought the University its first Heisman award.
Mariota finished his college career with a 36-5 record as a starter. Over the last three years he has thrown for more than 10,000 yards and 105 touchdowns with only 14 interceptions. Of course, all the work he accomplished with his golden arm was complemented by his skill as a rusher, running for 2,237 yards and 29 touchdowns, and wreaking havoc on defenses and bringing fans to their feet — not to mention the fact that he has thrown a touchdown pass in every game he has started and was the first Pac-12 player to accumulate more than 5,000 yards of total offense in a season.
While his actions on the field were eye-popping and awe-inspiring, it is his demeanor off the field that will be remembered. Widely regarded as the nicest player in the nation, he was a model for what a quarterback should be: a leader on and off the field.
In honor of a player who has done so much for the school, it would be fitting for his number to be the first Oregon has ever retired.
Top Photo by Kevin Cline