As a third-year player, Mariota is eligible to enter the NFL draft. Most analysts project him to be a top-10 overall pick.
Mariota returning definitely will keep the Ducks in the national conversation, but what will it mean for him?
In short, his decision was a bold one. When players decide to come back, bad things tend to happen like injuries and disappointing seasons.
Mariota should have consulted former USC quarterback Matt Barkley. Barkley returned for his senior season in 2012 with high expectations. But the year ended with mediocre results for the Trojans, a shoulder injury for Barkley, and Barkley falling from the potential No. 1 overall pick to the fourth round of the draft.
Mariota suffered a knee injury that slowed him down the stretch of the season. As a running quarterback, his style of play welcomes injuries because he takes more hits.
For Mariota’s sake, I hope only positive things come his way. But this time next year, I wonder if he’ll be happy with it or regretting the decision to return.
Contact Anniston Star Sports Writer Marq Burnett at email@example.com. Twitter: @marq_burnett.