It goes without saying that Lamar Jackson is the most important player on this years team. Not only because he plays quarterback but because he is the returning best player in the country – And he has the Heisman trophy to prove it.
But is he the most valuable player on this team? I guess that depends on your definition of most valuable. Most people say that the quarterback is always the most valuable. While I won’t argue with you if that is your belief but it’s hard for me to believe that this team can make the playoffs without Reggie Bonnafon as the team’s MVP.
Senior Reggie Bonnafon is the definition of a team player and he will do anything to help his team win. Bobby Petrino said that Reggie has really taken on a leadership role over the summer. Petrino’s statement was validated when Reggie was voted, by his teammates, as one of the team captains for this season. He is a playmaker and is probably the most athletic player on the team.
We all remember 2014 when freshman quarterback Reggie Bonnafon led the Cards to a victory at Notre Dame. Then in 2015, he watched Lamar Jackson and Kyle Bolin handle most of the quarterbacking duties while he played a multi-purpose role. In 2016 he made full-time transition to receiver where Petrino would later say that he regrets not getting Reggie the ball more. Reggie only recorded 13 receptions but scored 5 touchdowns. In the release of the 2017 depth chart, Reggie was listed as the starting running back.
So with Reggie at running back, and likely getting more touches, it would be fair to assume that Petrino and the gang would like to establish Reggie as a serious offensive threat to help take some pressure off of Lamar. It just makes sense.
But they won’t be trying to establish his offensive prowess solely as a running back. Reggie will be catching a lot of passes from out of the backfield and don’t be surprised to see him throw the ball several times this year. Every time he touches the ball, defenses must respect his ability to throw it as well as take it to the house.
Imagine Lamar at QB with Jaylen and Seth lined up out wide. Put Reggie and either Malik or Jeremy in the backfield and choose any of the 3 studs as your tight end. The run or pass threat is there and it would also force a linebacker to cover Reggie. I don’t think there is a linebacker in college football that can cover Reggie one-on-one. If they double him then Lamar will have his choice of any other weapon.
With Reggie in the backfield, Bobby has so many formations and plays at his disposal, I don’t see how anyone can stop this offense.
As if his ability to play QB, wide receiver and running back wasn’t enough, he is also just like having a coach on the field. Being that this is his 4th year in the Petrino system, nobody knows the offense better than Reggie. When a play is called, he knows exactly what Lamar will be doing and looking for pre-snap, he knows the route every wide receiver will be running and as a running back he will know exactly where the offensive lineman should be and their responsibilities.
Going into last season, many national publication tabbed Reggie as Louisville’s secret weapon. This season, all eyes will be on Lamar so maybe those publications were right but just a year early. I truly believe Reggie is the key to getting to the playoffs this year. If he gets the touches that I believe he will, then I think you could see his name as one receiving votes for the Heisman trophy. No, I didn’t say he would win the Heisman or even be invited to New York but I believe if he gets the ball enough, he will garner a few 6th or 7th place votes.
Yes, that could take away from Lamar’s chance to repeat but Lamar wants to win a national championship more than he wants another Heisman. I’m also quite sure that Lamar would be happy for his teammate to have such a great year, even if it is at his expense – Because that is the type of guy that Lamar is and that is how close this team is.
To me Reggie Bonnafon has the most potential to be the MVP of this team. He has to be the MVP. This is his last chance and he is fully aware of that fact. I’m sure he wants to go out on top and will do whatever he can to make it happen. The combination of being able to play multiple positions, his leadership, his knowledge and his will to win could be (and probably will be) the key to having the type of season that every fan wants. Reggie for MVP!
As Always, GO CARDS!