Birthday boy Mariota nets SI cover, praise from former Oregon coach

mariotagettyimageskevincaseyFormer Oregon head coach and current ESPN college football analyst Mike Bellotti appeared on WFNZ radio in Charlotte yesterday, and he told them Marcus Mariota will be a better pro quarterback than Cam Newton.

He goes on to say Mariota is a better student of the game,” he told the hosts. Marcus Mariota is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the nation.” Bellotti thinks the Oregon sophomore is a better quarterback that Jameis Winston and a possible #1 draft pick in the NFL.

Super Mario and brothers: a 64% completion average, 20 tds, no interceptions, 2281 yards passing and 511 rushing, and an 8-0 record have Marcus Mariota at the top of the college football hot list. He’ll stay infrared if the Ducks beat Stanford on November 7th (Kevin Casey, Getty Images).

“If and win Oregon wins out, it’ll be because of Marcus Mariota…he’s an explosive player,” Bellotti said. The Flyin’ Hawaiian’s speed, capable operation of the offense and exceptional running ability are the keys to the Quack Attack.

Not surprising comments, except for the fact the former Duck coach dissed Cam Newton in North Carolina. In his third year as a pro the Auburn Tiger Heisman Trophy winner has 12 tds and 5 interceptions, a quarterback rating of 97.6. He’s rushed for 229 yards and 3 touchdowns on a 4-3 team.

Today is Mariota’s birthday. The subject of this week’s Sports Illustrated regional cover story, he’s 20 years old, NFL draft eligible at the end of the year. Heisman polls at and have him as the leading candidate over Winston and Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M.