FAMOUS FRIDAY: Marcus Mariota is the (heis)MAN!


The Mariota Family

Marcus Mariota is the man!! The HeisMAN, that is!!! This week the University of Oregon quarterback was awarded the Heisman Trophy, given to the very best college football player of the year. I watched him accept the award and it was pretty awesome. The award meant so much to him that he sometimes had a hard time speaking without crying. He also thanked his white mom, Alana Deppe-Mariota, and Samoan dad, Toa Mariota, who were sitting in the audience. In fact, he thanked them SEVERAL times. Marcus is multiracial, of Samoan and German descent. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and has a little brother, Matt, who is a great high school football player.

One cool thing I learned is that Mariota was offered a full scholarship to Oregon before his senior year of high school even though he had not yet started a single varsity football game. He did start his senior year and led his team to the state title! He was also a star track athlete in high school. But it is not just his athletic skill that people admire. Marcus is a great example of humility and how to treat other people.

An article in the Daily Emerald during his freshman year at Oregon said, “And in his trademark fashion, Mariota found a way to connect to teammates without necessarily being the loudest guy in the room. Each morning, he shook hands with every player he came across, made sure to say hello. In post-practice media sessions — which became much more common for him during spring practices — his easygoing friendliness also extended to reporters, whom he’d smile at and clap on the shoulder as a form of greeting.”

Mariota became the first Oregon Duck and the first Hawaii-born athlete to ever win the Heisman Trophy. He had 788 out of 891 of the first place votes, and 90.9% of the total points. It wasn’t even close! The list of awards and records he holds is really long, but from now on the one that matters most is the Heisman Trophy. He will always be known as Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota!

As good as he is at sports, he may be just as good at being a great multiracial role model for kids like me!


Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Kids, President