Mariota 5th in first ESPN Heisman poll

by Billy Hull on August 15, 2013

Former Saint Louis QB Marcus Mariota enters the 2013 season as a Heisman contender.

Former Saint Louis QB Marcus Mariota enters the 2013 season as a Heisman contender.

Former Saint Louis School and current Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota was ranked fifth in the first ESPN Heisman Watch poll released on Thursday.

Mariota received two first-place votes among the 16 voters and is the fourth quarterback on the list, trailing Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, reigning Heisman winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and Alabama’s AJ McCarron.

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney tops the list.

Mariota should have plenty of opportunities to roll up big numbers early in the season, as Oregon opens with three of its first four games at home against Nicholls State, Tennessee and California. Mariota’s key stretch of the season begins in October with a game at Washington on Oct. 12. Two weeks later, the Ducks host defending Pac-12 South champion UCLA before the big showdown in Palo Alto against Stanford on Nov. 7.

If the Ducks can come out of that stretch undefeated and Mariota is healthy, expect the dual-threat QB to make a strong push to become the second player from Hawaii in as many years to be in New York City as a Heisman finalist come December.

To see the complete ESPN Heisman Watch poll, click here.

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