The obvious choice for No. 1 on this list has to be Marcus Mariota not just because he’s the only Heisman winner, but also because each of his three seasons in Eugene were the best of any quarterback in the past two decades. Simply put, Mariota just didn’t miss.
Taking over after a successful career from Darron Thomas which got the Ducks back on the map, Mariota started in 2012 as a true freshman and didn’t disappoint.
Little did anyone know, this would also be Chip Kelly’s final season.
Mariota had a heck of a debut season, passing for 2,677 yards and 32 touchdowns with only six interceptions while leading the Ducks to a 12-1 record and Fiesta Bowl win. He also flashed that dual-threat ability with 752 yards and five touchdowns.
And then Kelly took an NFL job and Mark Helfrich was left with one of the nation’s best quarterbacks who led the Ducks to an 11-2 season and an Alamo Bowl win in 2013. He passed for 3,665 yards and 31 touchdowns with only four interceptions and ran for over 700 yards yet again.
Mariota’s Heisman-winning season was something to remember as he passed for 4,454 yards and 42 touchdowns with just four picks and a 68 percent completion rate to go along with 770 yards and 15 scores on the ground. He led Oregon to a program-best 13 wins, including a Rose Bowl victory in the playoff semifinal before losing in the title game to Ohio State.
The collegiate career of Mariota will be tough to top as he’s the clear No. 1 quarterback in program history and probably will be for quite some time.