Eugene, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - As expected, Oregon junior quarterback Marcus Mariota, winner of the Heisman Trophy for the 2014 season, is entering the 2015 NFL draft.
Mariota announced his decision in a release Wednesday.
"After meeting with my family I have decided to forego my final year of eligibility and apply for the 2015 NFL Draft," Mariota said. "My four years at the University of Oregon have been an awesome experience. I cannot thank Coach Kelly, Coach Helfrich, Coach Frost, the rest of the Oregon coaches and the support staff enough for molding me as a person, player and student-athlete.
"The support I received from the University, the city of Eugene and Duck fans has been tremendous. I will always remember the great times and support I received. Once a Duck always a Duck.
"I will miss being with my teammates. Being a part of this team was something special that I will always treasure."
Mariota's decision to go pro comes two days after the Ducks' 42-20 loss to Ohio State in the national title game.
A three-year starter, Mariota led Oregon to a 36-5 record, and set an NCAA record by passing for a touchdown in all 41 career starts. He became the first player in Pac-12 history to account for 5,000 yards of total offense in a single season, reaching 5,224 on Monday in the title game, and he became the first player in FBS history to finish a season with a plus-50 ratio of touchdowns (58) to turnovers (seven).
"It's been an honor to watch Marcus develop over the last four years, and I'm excited to see what his future holds," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "He's given this program everything we could have asked, and he'll be the standard by which others are judged. Mahalo."
It's possible that Mariota could go to Tampa Bay as the first overall pick in the draft.