Lamar Jackson’s 2017 season after being named last year’s Heisman Trophy winner can be summed up as a quiet storm. The native of Pompano Beach, Florida decided to return to Louisville for his junior season in hopes of adding a national championship to his already impressive resume. Surprisingly, the returning winner has a been a bit of a underdog in this year’s race. After falling short of that by leading the Cardinals to a 8-4 season, Jackson remains focused on the secondary goal of being named a Heisman finalist for a second straight year.
“I feel we should’ve been better this year, but things don’t always go as planned,” Jackson noted. “I would be happy for another Heisman win. It would make up for it with the fans. I know the fans would want to see me bring another one to the university. And the city loves the football program and we love them back — it’s all for the city”
After being the youngest winner in the award’s history, Jackson hoped for and even better season at Louisville and has the stats to back it up. In comparison to 2016, Jackson has better numbers on fewer attempts in almost ever category.
The 6’3”, 220 pound dual-threat leader had 4,932 yards of total offense (3,489 passing, 1,443 rushing) with 42 total touchdowns, leading FBS in both per game, respectfully. Jackson needs 26 rushing yards and 126 passing yards in Louisville’s upcoming bowl game to become only the second player in NCAA history with 4,000 career rush yards and 9,000 pass yards. Jackson looks to become the first player in ACC history to lead the league in both rushing and passing for the season. He’s the conference leader in total offense, passing touchdowns, passing yards, rushing yards, points responsible for, and second in scoring, passing efficiency, yards per attempt, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.
Jackson has cemented his name in college football history by becoming the first player to throw for 3,000 yards passing and accumulate 1,000 yards rushing in consecutive seasons. He’s just the fourth player ever to rush for 3,000 yards and pass for 8,000, along with reaching the plateau of at least 65 passing and 49 rushing touchdowns.
“I’m just playing football”, Jackson said. “I just play football for the thrill. I love the game for the passion. I don’t really care about awards, if people look at me It’s always been like — I just play football.”
In a year overshadowed by other ACC teams, Jackson presented a good case to be named a Heisman finalist. Nine games with 100 yards rushing or more is one less than Stanford running back Bryce Love, who has one fewer rushing touchdown than Jackson. His total of six games throwing for 300 yards or more is two less than Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, despite both quarterbacks having the same amount of total touchdowns (42) and Jackson facing a tougher conference strength of schedule.
The Heisman Trophy will be presented on Saturday, December 9th.