Mariota to start at QB for Ducks

Mariota to start at QB for Ducks »Play Video
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota looks for a receiver during the first half of their intra-squad spring NCAA college football game in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, April 28, 2012.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon head coach Chip Kelly named redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota as the new starting quarterback for the Oregon Ducks, according to a tweet from Andy McNamara, the Oregon athletics sports information director.

Coach Kelly said he would not be available for further comment until following Saturday's workout at approximately 11:30 a.m.

LaMichael James, a stand-out Duck who now plays for the San Francisco 49ers, responded to the news via Twitter: "He will possibly be the best qb to ever play at Oregon! He's the real deal."

Mariota and Bryan Bennett had both been in the running for the starting job as the Ducks started fall practices.

The Ducks start the season at home at Autzen Stadium on Sept. 1 against Arkansas State.

Mariota was the star of the spring game back in April, throwing for 202 yards and a TD, rushing for 99 yards and two scores and leading his team to a 41-14 victory.

One of his TDs came on an 82-yard run.

The 6-foot-4, 211 pound Mariota is from Honolulu, Hawaii.

Mariota becomes the school's first freshman to start Oregon's season opener since redshirt freshman Danny O'Neil did so in 1991 against Washington State.