Barring any unforeseen incidents, Lamar Jackson will be the first Louisville football player to be invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy awards ceremony as one of the three finalists. As of now, Lamar is not only expected to be invited but he is the favorite to win the award. With all the Heisman talk swirling around the program, it has prompted much talk of Lamar’s place among the best players to ever wear a Louisville jersey (and he is only a sophomore). Although it’s all opinion, many believe he will be considered the best Louisville player ever.
The thing about opinions are that everyone has one and nobody is wrong. You are entitled to yours and I am entitled to mine. Mine is that Lamar is not the best player on his current team. I wondered if I was alone in my opinion so I posed the question, ” Who is the best player on this Louisville football team and why? Not the MVP, just best player.” I posted the question on two Louisville Football Facebook pages and one ACC Sports Group page. The responses were very interesting because I asked the question knowing that everyone has their own definition of best player, MVP and have their own variables they use to determine the answer. Most people just use stats. Many just see highlights and are influenced by what the media feeds them. Some think that where you are projected in the NFL draft determines your value as a college player. Some use off the field behavior as a qualifier. I understand all angles people use to support their opinion but it’s hard to determine who is actually better especially when they play different positions. That’s why there are so many different awards. The Heisman trophy is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football in the United States whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman and the AP Player of the Year honor the most outstanding player, while the Maxwell and the Walter Camp award recognizes the best player, and the Archie Griffin Award recognizes the most valuable player.
While you will never hear me argue or dispute anyone if they answer my question with Lamar Jackson, I would answer with Jaire Alexander. I won’t spend a lot of time explaining why but I will tell you his interception of Watson in the end zone was the most amazing interception I have seen and it changed the whole game. Also, every time he returns a kick I am on the edge of my seat waiting for him to break one. You can make a case for Keith Kelsey, Devonte Fields, JHC, DeAngelo Brown, Brandon Radcliff and several others and I won’t disagree. What I will disagree with is judging a player based on his NFL draft status. Tim Tebow was arguably the best college player in our generation but his talents did not translate to the NFL. Gerod Holliman tied an NCAA record with 14 interception en route to winning the Jim Thorpe award. He was drafted in the 7th round by the Pittsburgh Steelers only to be cut. So you can still be a great college player but that does not guarantee success in the NFL. In fact, I believe that unless Lamar improves his accuracy and learns to put a little more touch on the ball, he will be the third Cardinal drafted in the 2018 NFL draft. Yes, I said THIRD. Only behind Geron Christian and Jaire Alexander. If Lamar improves his passing throughout the course of his junior year, and depending on what NFL team drafts first, he could be Louisville’s first ever number one NFL draft pick, making Louisville the 11th NCAA school to have both a number one overall pick in the NBA and NFL. Even if Lamar doesn’t get drafted first, you can still argue that he is the greatest Cardinal of all time and I won’t disagree. NFL success does not affect your value or legacy as a collegiate athlete.
My purpose of posing this question was 1.) to see how many Cards fans were truly watching the games and realized just how much talent was on this team. 2.) To see what other ACC schools knew about our team or if they only knew about Lamar.
Most Card fans did me proud with their responses while most ACC fans didn’t respond because, well, THEY MAD! Here are some of the responses…
As Always, GO CARDS!