FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Marcus Mariota knows what he has to do at the NFL combine, whether he throws there or not.
“You just have to get one team to love you. That’s all that really matters,” Mariota said Monday before accepting the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback. “You are interviewing and trying to market yourself to get a job. ... That’s what’s fun about this process.”
Mariota said his throwing (right) shoulder that he sprained in the first College Football Playoff championship game was feeling good. But he won’t decide for a few more days about whether to throw later this week in Indianapolis.
“Really, I’m looking forward to throwing if I’m able to do that,” he said. “It’s going to be a decision that my agent and the team that I have around me will decide when I get closer.”
The O’Brien’s black-tie awards dinner was held in downtown Fort Worth, about 20 minutes from the stadium where exactly five weeks earlier the Heisman Trophy winner got hurt in Oregon’s 42-20 championship loss to Ohio State.
Named in honor of the 1938 Heisman Trophy winner from TCU, the O’Brien is another in an impressive list of awards for Mariota.
Oregon’s star quarterback was the overwhelming winner for this year’s Heisman Trophy and The Associated Press college football player of the year. The dual-threat player also won the Maxwell Award and Walter Camp player of the year, and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which also goes to the top quarterback.
“Growing up, you’re a kid playing NCAA (video games), and you create guys on this game, and you try to get your guys to win these awards,” he said. “Now that it had become a reality, it’s hard for it to all sink in. It’s always going to be a special, special thing.”
Mariota accounted for 5,224 total yards and 58 touchdowns in his junior season for the Ducks. That included 42 touchdowns passing (against only four interceptions), while rushing for 15 other scores and catching another one.
Florida State’s Jameis Winston, the Heisman and O’Brien winners as a freshman during the 2013 season, and Mariota are considered the top two quarterbacks available in the upcoming NFL draft. Winston ran a pro-style system with the Seminoles.
“I’m going to continue to be who I am and find ways to lead and develop relationships around me and be the best player I can be,” Mariota said, when asked his response to a team asking why he should be a high draft pick. “I’m going to work hard at it and do whatever it takes to win a game.”
Mariota, who graduated from Oregon in December, has been working out in the San Diego area since the end of the season. That helped him get over the loss to the Buckeyes.
“I was able to flush it out kind of quickly,” he said. “That kind of helped the process for me a little bit to kind of start moving in a different direction so to say. When you look back at it, it’s kind of tough. For the most part, I’m excited for the next step in my life.
“Reflecting on it, we had a great season and sometimes you don’t win them all,” he said. “But it’s a lot of fun.”