01/16/2015 09:55 am ET Updated Jan 16, 2015

Marcus Mariota's 4th-Grade Teacher Tried To Talk Him Out Of His NFL Dreams

Alex Goodlett via Getty Images

Twelve years ago, a 9-year-old boy in Hawaii was gently scolded by his fourth grade teacher. In a writing assignment -- "What do you want to be when you grow up?" -- young Marcus Mariota was insistent that he would be an NFL quarterback.

His teacher, Margerie Tupper, was skeptical. She took him aside one day and tried to convince him to pick another dream.

"I told him, there's only so many quarterbacks in the NFL ... but it was, 'No, Mrs. Tupper. That's all I want to do,'" she told local news outlet KITV. "'I want to play pro-quarterback in the NFL.' That's all he kept saying."

On Jan. 14, Heisman-winner Marcus Mariota announced that he will be leaving the Oregon Ducks and entering the 2015 NFL draft.

And Mrs. Tupper, still a fourth-grade teacher at Nuuanu Elementary School, is eating her words.

"I rooted for him," Tupper told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. "But I felt kinda of silly having been the one who tried to talk him out of it at first. My son jokes with me about it, calling me 'the dream killer.'"

Tupper says she takes all the teasing in stride and that she's extremely proud of her former student.

"It is like, my gosh, he had these dreams so young and told me about them ... and he's making them happen," she told the Star-Advertiser.

Young Marcus had yet to even play organized football when he came up with his NFL dream; his parents had told Tupper they didn't know where he got the idea. As a nine year old, however, he was already throwing impressive spirals at recess, and his parents have since noted an unfaltering persistence in their son.

"He's always had goals and he's really focused and he's achieving them. It's pretty amazing," his mother told The Oregonian two years ago. "As it starts happening and evolving you look back and say, 'Wow!'"

Take that, naysayers.



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