THIBODAUX, La. -- Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota will spend the weekend imparting wisdom about the game to young campers at the 19th annual Manning Passing Academy, but that doesn't mean the Ducks star can't soak up some valuable instruction himself. Even a Heisman Trophy candidate like Mariota can use a few pointers from the first family of the quarterback position, and Mariota said that's exactly what he's been taking from his conversations with brothers Peyton and Eli Manning.
"They've taught me a lot of under-center stuff, and making sure my base is my foundation," Mariota said. "They've helped me understand that I have to throw with my feet, and that will help me a lot with accuracy and different things like that. Hopefully I can apply that."
Archie Manning and his NFL star sons haven't missed a day of the camp in 19 years. For top college quarterbacks like Mariota, an invitation to work the MPA as a counselor is also an opportunity to meet with two of the NFL's top quarterbacks.
"They've been great," Mariota said.
The "under-center stuff" Mariota referred to is among the adjustments he will eventually have to make as an NFL quarterback, coming from a shotgun offense at Oregon. It's a hurdle that's also coming for Baylor star Bryce Petty, who plays from the shotgun, as well. As a senior, Petty will look to quell scouting concerns about his shotgun background after the season. For Mariota, that time might or might not come so quickly. After opting to pass on this year's draft and return to Oregon, he will be a fourth-year junior this fall and has two years of college eligibility remaining. He could enter the NFL draft in either 2015 or 2016.
Will one more year in college be enough for Mariota?
"We'll see, I'm not too sure," he said. "The opportunity to leave obviously is there, but at the same time, college is fun and I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet."
One thing is certain, school won't be too taxing on Mariota this year, as he's already earned a degree. And he's not exactly taking on a tough class load this fall.
"I'm done," he added. "I have two or three credits left in the fall, but that will be left for like yoga and golf class."