Oregon offensive coordinator: Marcus Mariota ready for NFL

It didn't surprise a whole lot of folks when Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota decided to return to the program for another year this past offseason.

It probably will surprise a ton of folks if the Heisman Trophy favorite opts to make the same decision and come back for his redshirt senior season at the school in 2015. Count Oregon offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Scott Frost among them.

"If this season keeps going the way it is, it's gonna be hard to tell him to stay," Frost told USA Today. "I think he's ready. He's a lot more ready than he was a year ago. He's physically more ready, and mentally and emotionally more ready. ... I really don't see anything that he can work on a whole lot more here."

The 6-foot-4 signal-caller is having perhaps his best season yet in Eugene. He's in position to win college football's ultimate individual honor (the Heisman) and is eyeing a Pac-12 and national title.

Mariota has drawn comparisons to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick due to his athleticism. The Oregon QB has long had the attention of NFL scouts as one of the top dual-threat talents in the college ranks.

There aren't many knocks against Mariota, but his calm demeanor on and off the field has come under scrutiny. One NFL scout recently questioned whether he was too nice, suggesting Mariota perhaps isn't the alpha male some franchises are looking for in their quarterback. Frost, a former college star who played six seasons in the NFL, dismissed those concerns.

"Any team that thinks he's too nice -- they don't deserve him," Frost said. "He's our leader in every sense of the word."

Nobody knows what the next couple months hold for Mariota and the Ducks, but one thing seems quite clear when you talk to those around the Hawaii native: The sky is the limit for him between the lines, whether he's at the college or pro level.

The only question that remains is whether the quarterback himself is ready to make the jump.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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