Five came seeking it but only one could walk away with it, the grand prize. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner is Lamar Jackson the Outstanding sophomore Quarterback from the University of Louisville. At 19 years old he is the youngest to ever earn it. He is the first candidate from the University of Louisville as well as its first winner. The hardware is starting to pile up. Thursday night at the College Football Hall of Fame there was a host of players picking up awards for being the best at their respective position. He received the Maxwell Award as the Nation’s Most Outstanding Player. Guess they go hand in hand, if you are the most outstanding you have to be the best. If he’s not he is surely the most exciting. He also won the ACC Offensive Player of the Year, ACC Player of the Year, Sporting News Player of the Year, and the Walter Camp Award.
When you put up staggering video game like statistics you get noticed, 4928 total offensive yards, 51 touchdowns. He threw for 3,390 yards and 30 touchdowns. He ran for 1,538 yards and scored 21 touchdowns on the ground. He’s the third player to throw for 30 touchdowns and run for 20 in a season but the first in FBS History to pass for 3,300 yards and rush for 1500 yards in a single season. He led his team to a 9-3 record and dueled the defending ACC Champions to perhaps one of the most thrilling games in College Football history coming up a time clock short. The national stage saw the talent and skills of 6-3 208 pound Quarterback. Jackson was a terrific quarter at Boyton Beach High School in Florida. He was heavily recruited but most colleges didn’t see him as a big time quarterback at the college level. There were no questions about his talent but all the tangible things come into play, height, weight, speed, etc. His highest rating was as a 3-star athlete and some recruiting services didn’t provide an overall ranking.
He put up good number as a senior 1,293 yards passing, 1,039 yards running, 19 touchdowns on the ground and threw for 20 more touchdowns. In his school classification 6A, they recognized him as a first team all-state player but not as a quarterback instead of a utility player. He chose Louisville because head coach Bobby Petrino promised him a shot at the quarterback position. He had other offers from UCF, Georgia, South Carolina, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Auburn, West Virginia, and Nebraska. Louisville ended up with the prized recruit because he wanted to play quarterback. All he sought was an opportunity and boy did he seize it. Perhaps all of his measurable weren’t there but there are three things you can’t measure in great athletes, that’s heart, determination, and the will to win.
247.com had him rated as a 3-star athlete, 13 rated QB, 401 rated prospect overall, “Jackson is one of the nation’s elite dual-threats. He throws a better ball than most realize and explosive on the zone read. He has elite quickness and live arm.” ESPN had him rated as a 3-star athlete and ranked him 17th with no overall ranking. I had it as a showdown between Deshaun Watson the Clemson Quarter back who returned to New York for the second time in back to back years as the nation’s best quarterback picking up the Davey O’Brien award in consecutive years. After leading his team to back to back ACC Titles, two births into the College Football Playoffs, and a trip to the national championship game to which he hopes to return but this time capture that prize for his teammates and university.
Standing in their way is THE Ohio State, winning that one could set up a potential rematch with Alabama. Wouldn’t that had been something a big prize for yourself and an even bigger prize to share with your teammates. If you look at the body of work it’s Deshaun Watson. But folks remember this award is for the best player in college football in a given season, and ballots are in. If the members of the Heisman Trust had player rock, paper, scissors, or flipped a coin heads Lamar tails Deshaun they couldn’t have gone wrong either way. Instead, the voting went as follows. 870 media people across the nation the previous 58 Heisman Winners and one fan ballot worth 959 electors. When tabulated the results were 2,144 points for Lamar Jackson, 1,524 points for Deshaun Watson, Baker Mayfield of the Oklahoma Sooners 362 points, Dede Westbrook of Oklahoma 209 points, and Jabrill Peppers of Michigan 208 points. Jackson finished first in balloting in each region. Watson was finished second in each region. This marks the 10th straight year for a non-senior and the 4th time a sophomore earned the award.
Lamar with his millennial influence dressed the part of the celebrity he has become sporting a deep red suede jacket with solid black lapels, a black bow tie, and the hanky to match. His school colors as he explained to the media members who were fascinated by his appearance. Lamar complimented me on my jacket during the Home Depot College Football Hall of Fame awards ceremony in Atlanta tonight I had to return the favor acknowledging he one upped me on this occasion. If I was to be upstaged on jackets I preferred it to be by youngest Heisman Trophy winner in history. So what’s next for the nineteen-year-old Heisman Trophy Winner? The front cover of magazines and prominent newspapers throughout the country and a whirlwind tour on every talk show, Saturday Night Live, and anywhere else that can get him booked for an appearance. By enlarging I just described the life of a celebrity and that is exactly what Lamar just became. It is my sincere hope he realizes that his whole life just changed. No more regular kid you are perhaps the most popular kid in the country. It becomes somewhat political one has to always say the right thing and do the right thing, that sounds like perfection and none of us can aspire to those unrealistic standards and expectations. Greatness begets greatness and there are certain things that come along with being a celebrity or a star athlete. One must learn how to manage public perception. It’s no longer about what happens between the white lines it’s about who you are, where you go, what you do. What are your favorite foods, favorite color, etc?
In the era of social media one’s life is just a click away for the general public to criticize and pass judgment. This celebrity has to return to an open college campus as its most popular student and one of the most popular in the country along with Sasha and Malia Obama. I am not suggesting freshman and sophomores shouldn’t be allowed to win the Heisman. I’d like to see colleges and universities put some type of support in place. Suddenly anything you do is news. Be nice if everything about him could stay between the white lines focusing on what he does not who he is and what he does off the gridiron. Simply put he is another typical college student doing the same things as the rest of them. In my opinion, if it’s not news about them shouldn’t be news about him.
I realize that’s a fantasy and that’s not the world we live in. Guess it’s the price you pay for fame.