University of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson won the prestigious Heisman Trophy on Saturday evening. The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding college football player in the country, as determined by the Downtown Athletic Club’s voters. Many great college football players have won the award and Jackson, deservedly, gets to join that fraternity.
Numbers don’t always tell the story of how great someone is or isn’t, but Lamar Jackson has put up some impressive numbers this season. Jackson threw for 3,390 yards and rushed for another 1,538 and accumulated 51 total touchdowns. And even though the Cardinals lost three games, Jackson was not the reason: against Clemson, he threw for 295 yards and 1 TD and ran for 162 yards and 2TDs; against Houston (his worst game of the season), Jackson threw for 211 yards and 1 TD and only rushed for 33 yards (keep in mind that he lost 83 rushing yards due to the 11 sacks against the Cougars; and against in-state rival Kentucky, Lamar Jackson accounted for 4 total touchdowns, rushing for 171 yards and throwing for another 281. Even when he wasn’t great, Jackson was still pretty good.
Growing up in Louisville (and being a Cardinal fan) I remember the state of the UL football program in the 1980s. The Cards played in AAA baseball stadium. They weren’t even in a conference. And I remember, vividly, that you couldn’t give away tickets to the football games. When Howard Schnellenberger, of Miami Hurricane fame, arrived in Louisville and proclaimed that the Louisville football program was on the path to a national title and that the only variable was time, it was laughable. Yet, here we are, thirty or so years later and the Cards are in the ACC. They’ve humbled storied programs (starting with a Fiesta Bowl victory in 1991 and more recently with a beatdown of Florida Sate this year). And now, the Louisville Cardinal fans will be able to boast about having the best player in all of college football.
I’m glad Lamar Jackson won. It’s great for the young man, who by all accounts is a humble kid and a great teammate. It’s great for the University of Louisville football program as the Cards try their best to get to the big boys’ table in college football. It’s great for the Card fans to cheer Jackson and have a tremendous sense of pride in their football team. It’s even great for the Big Blue Nation because, lest we forget, Jackson and the Cardinals were 27 point favorites over the Wildcats and lost, 41-38, at home with Jackson fumbling away the game minutes after striking a Heisman pose. Hey, if the Cardinal fans can remember the 2016 season fondly, so too can the BBN.
Congrats, Lamar. You deserve the Heisman trophy