QB Mariota, center Grasu forgo NFL to stick with Ducks

QB Mariota, center Grasu forgo NFL to stick with Ducks

EUGENE, Ore. - Quarterback Marcus Mariota and center Hroniss Grasu will return to the University of Oregon for the 2014 season, the University of Oregon said Tuesday.

Both star players were eleigible to leave Oregon and seek a spot in the NFL.

Mariota, a redshirt sophomore from Honolulu, and Grasu, a redshirt junior from Los Angeles, announced their intentions a day after earning all-conference honors accolades from the Pac-12's head coaches for the second straight year.

“It is an honor to be a student at the University of Oregon and to have the opportunity to represent our institution on the football field alongside my teammates,” Mariota said in a press release. “I look forward to earning my degree next year and to the rest of my career at this great University.”

Mariota, who has claimed a share of Oregon’s Most Outstanding Player honors in each of his first two seasons, completed 227 of 360 passes (63.1 percent) for 3,412 yards and 30 touchdowns as a sophomore, with his 3,994 yards of total offense setting a single-season school record.

The 2012 Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year, Mariota has started all 25 games for the Ducks in his two seasons and is currently the conference’s career leader in pass efficiency rating at 165.67.

Grasu, a three-year starter at center, has anchored the Oregon offensive line. The 2012 third-team all-America was a candidate for the Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy and Rimington Trophy this season.

“The University of Oregon is a special place and I’m extremely happy to be returning for my senior year,” Grasu said. “To be a student-athlete in this community is an honor and an experience I’ll continue to cherish with my teammates.”