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Chip Kelly on Marcus Mariota: 'Most talented kid I coached'

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Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is widely regarded as a special talent at his position, and the outstanding season he's having in 2014 is why he's considered a runaway favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this year.


» Predictions for 2014 college football awards: Heisman, Camp, more


The coach who recruited him to Eugene will tell you he saw it coming.

"When he was a freshman I remarked, 'This kid's going to win the Heisman,'" Eagles head coach Chip Kelly told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "He's a special young man and he's a hell of a football player and he deserves it."

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Kelly, it should be noted, actually redshirted Mariota during his freshman season with the Ducks and coached him for only one year, in 2012, before moving on to the NFL. Of course, the two won the Fiesta Bowl and finished No. 2 in the country in the polls, so they certainly made their 13 games together count.

Kelly said he doesn't get to watch all of Oregon's games because they come on so late on the East Coast, but said he has caught parts of them and is extremely impressed at what he's seen out of Mariota as he wraps up his junior season.

"He's a special player, and he's just got a gift for playing football," Kelly said. "He's everything you want. He can throw the ball, he can run. He's the most talented kid I coached in college."

High praise from a man who knows a thing or two about offensive football.

In addition to being one of the three finalists invited to Saturday's Heisman Trophy ceremony, Mariota has helped lead Oregon to one of the four spots in the first-ever College Football Playoff. He's compiled a remarkable 38-to-2 touchdown/interception ratio this season and is widely considered one of the top quarterback prospects in the country.


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Philadelphia media is already speculating that Kelly's love for his former signal-caller in his offense could lead to the team move up in the draft to select Mariota whenever he enters, and the multiple players the Eagles have trotted out at quarterback have only increased such talk.

For now though, Kelly will just have to watch on in amazement at Mariota like the rest of us.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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