Marcus Mariota was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on October 30, 1993 to Toa Mariota and Alana Deppe-Mariota. He wasn't the starting quarterback on the St. Louis High School football team until his senior year. During that season, he led the team to an 11-1 record and showed an ability to pass the ball accurately and run the ball well. He also stood out in track and field where he was clocked running a 4.48 40-yard dash.
Mariota was recruited by several college football teams but was only offered a scholarship by the University of Oregon and Memphis. He chose the Oregon Ducks and "redshirted" (a suspension of an athlete's participation in order to lengthen the period of eligibility) the 2011 season. Mariota hit the ground running in the 2012 season, starting all 13 games and leading the Ducks to a #2 national final season poll ranking while earning Pac-12 All-Conference 1st Team honors.
During the 2013 season (and beginning in the 2012 season), he set a Pac-12 record by attempting 353 passes without an interception. Once again, he started all 13 games and won Pac-12 All-Conference 1st Team honors. However a knee injury hampered Mariota's mobility for part of the season. Despite this, the team finished with an 11-2 record and a top 10 national ranking.
Considered a preseason favorite to win the 2014 Heisman Trophy, college football's most prestigious individual honor, Mariota lived up to the high expectations. The Ducks finished the regular season with a 12-1 record and won the Rose Bowl semifinal game, before falling to Ohio State University in the first ever College Football Playoff championship game. The Ducks finished the season ranked #2 in the country. For the year, Mariota completed over 68% of his passes and threw 42 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions. A dual threat, he also ran for 770 yards and 15 more touchdowns.
In December 2014 Mariota became only the second player from a Northwest college to ever win the Heisman Trophy, scoring the second highest voting point total of any player in 50 years. In 1962, Oregon State University quarterback Terry Baker was the first Northwest player to win the Heisman. Among his many other awards in 2014, Mariota won the Davey O'Brien Award, Walter Camp Award, Maxwell Award, Manning Award, and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He was named the Associated Press Player of the Year and the Pac-12's Offensive Player of the Year.
Mariota set the national Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) record by scoring 58 touchdowns to only 7 turnovers and became one of only four FBS quarterbacks in history to pass for more than 10,000 yards and run for more than 2,000 yards. He threw for at least one touchdown in every game of his career. Along the way, he was featured on four Sports Illustrated magazine covers during his career.
Mariota completed his degree in General Science in 2014 with GPA of 3.22 and was technically eligible to play one more year for Oregon. However, he opted for the National Football League and was drafted second overall in 2015 by the Tennessee Titans.
(Sources: ESPN | goducks.com | Sports Illustrated | Wikipedia)