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In Appreciation of Sean Mannion

Thursday, November 27, 2014

 

Quarterbacks are saddled with too much blame, but they’re also showered with too much praise and credit.

It’s a big-boy position.

By now, after all he’s gone through in four seasons at Corvallis, Sean Mannion knows this better than anyone. 

This, his senior year, hasn’t gone how anyone could have predicted.

He has been overshadowed within the state by his counterpart at rival Oregon, Marcus Mariota, but there’s no shame there - Mariota has overshadowed the rest of the college football world, too. He’s the best player in the country.

Entering the season, Mannion wasn’t far behind, even regarded as a dark-horse Heisman Trophy candidate by some.

But then the losses mounted.

Nonetheless, he fought, standing tall behind an offensive line that never really came together and missed the presence of stalwart Isaac Seumalo. 

He never blamed others, only himself.

"It's been a hard year," Oregon State coach Mike Riley told the Oregonian. "I've been, really, I think most impressed with him this year, because it wasn't very easy and we were dealing with a lot of stuff."

Sometimes, you learn more about a prospect when he’s facing adversity. 

That’s the best-case scenario/spin for Mannion, who reportedly received a third-round grade last winter from the NFL Draft Advisory Board. Based solely on performance, it’s hard to imagine his grade would have improved, likely gotten worse.

But what exactly changed? Mannion was super last year, when he was throwing to an electric wide receiver in Brandin Cooks, whose rookie season with the New Orleans Saints just ended when he was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a broken thumb.

Consider that for a moment - flanked by an NFL talent, Mannion was exceptional.

He’ll be drafted in May and, unless he’s drafted by Jacksonville (just kidding, Jaguars fans), he’ll presumably be surrounded by NFL talent. 

Has he improved since last year? Probably. Is it easy to identify how? Definitely not.

Truth is, Mannion has represented the Beavers with poise and class, managing an unexpectedly difficult season with aplomb.

If anyone deserves a victory against the hated Ducks in his last home game, it’s Mannion.

But we don’t always get what we want, do we?

He might just have to settle for a lengthy NFL career because that seems more in the cards than an upset Saturday at Reser.

 

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