Last season, Oregon graduated three tight ends that had great careers at Oregon, but that only left two players on scholarship, Jacob Breeland, and Cam McCormick. So that means walkons Ryan Bay, Taylor Stinson and Mariota could be line to see playing time this fall, especially since there were no tight ends signed in February.
Granted there are some disadvantages, but Mariota in particular has a slight advantage: his brother lived with him during the off-season. By the way, his brother is Heisman Trophy winner and current Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Matt Mariota came to Oregon as a linebacker but when the opportunity arose, he turned to his older brother for a little insight and help. While Marcus was a quarterback at Oregon and not a tight end, that doesn't mean he was unfamiliar with what the tight ends did or what some of the techniques were; and it didn't hurt to have Marcus throwing some passes Matt's way either.
Marcus was in Eugene, where he maintains a home while recuperating from an injury that knocked the Titans out of the playoffs last December. While Marcus was tending to the injury, he began throwing as part of the recovery plan and who better to throw to than his kid brother who just so happens to have been moving positions with the Ducks.
Matt says that he still relies on his brother for advice and encouragement to the point that he sends an update after every practice.
There is a rumor going around that Marcus is Matt's biggest fan!
So what was it like to live with your brother in Eugene, say on some simple things like who cooks or washes the dishes?
Matt says that Marcus maybe a great quarterback but no so great a cook or even dishwasher. Consequently they ate out a lot.
Sounds typical of course for a couple of growing boys on their own.
That's the story as of now about Matt's advantage, but of course it will be his own determination and hard work that will help him achieve the goal of playing football at Oregon.
That's always the case as it certainly was for Marcus, who now awaits more updates from his brother on how practice went.
He is after all he's Matt's biggest fan.