NASHVILLE, Tenn. (KHON) – As the second overall NFL draft choice, quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans continue to iron out details in his contract.
For now, the Saint Louis graduate is home on Oahu, 10 days out from training camp.
Early Thursday morning, KHON2 was invited to Sandy Beach for the filming of the Heisman Trophy winner’s latest commercial and photo shoot for Island Insurance.
Mariota has been an overwhelming success off the gridiron, represented by Alan Zucker, the same marketing agent as the Manning brothers, Joe Montana and Taylor Swift.
Before taking his first NFL snap, he already has the league’s top-selling jersey and has scooped up lucrative endorsement deals with Nike, Apple and Subway to name a few.
But the 21-year-old says while he’s gotten used to the cameras, it still doesn’t feel “normal.”
“It’s all surreal still to me. This is all such a great opportunity and 10, 15 years ago if you told me I’d be in Nashville, Tennessee playing for the Titans, I would have shaken my head. It’s just all such a dream come true for me and again, just a blessing,” he said.
On Wednesday, Mariota won the 2015 ESPY Award for Best Male College Athlete. But instead of walking the red carpet and accepting the honor on network television, he chose to remain in Hawaii with family.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” he explained. “This time off that we’ve had has been good for me, just to kind of unwind and kind of reflect a little bit on what’s happened last year and just kind of regain focus going into next season.”
Mariota admitted the first thing he did when he stepped off the plane was head to Zippy’s Restaurant. “I always enjoy breakfast at Zippy’s,” he said with a chuckle.
“What are you trying to take from Hawaii before you head back out on the road?” KHON2 asked.
“Just the same things that haven driven me to where I’m at today,” Mariota said. “Just the humility, the culture, continuing to bring that wherever I go, and even though I’m in Nashville, I can still bring that Aloha spirit.”
A gag order was put on Mariota regarding any talk about his unsigned contract as his camp and the Titans remain on opposite sides regarding offset language in the deal.
However, he is still scheduled to leave Oahu for Nashville at the end of the week and is not expected back.
Training camp opens July 26.