No, you didn’t miss the ceremony. No, the award hasn’t been announced. And no, Lamar Jackson isn’t even mentioned in some “expert’s” lists for Heisman. This article isn’t predicting the future, its purpose is to educate those who say Lamar is having a “down year” and shouldn’t be a Heisman candidate.
Make no mistake, the Louisville football team hasn’t lived up to expectations thus far in the season. Sitting at 5-3 (2-3 ACC) with a home loss to Boston College isn’t at all where I envisioned this talented, but young team to be after 8 games. The team’s record is likely a very big reason why Lamar isn’t receiving the hype around his performance this season. Heisman voters heavily weigh the team’s overall success when considering who they will vote for, and I understand that. But, that isn’t the only metric used and it definitely shouldn’t factor as much into the equation as it does.
Another reason for the lack of buzz around Lamar Jackson this season has been brought on by himself. By that, I mean, coming into this season everyone knew that for Lamar to become only the 2nd player ever to repeat as Heisman, he would have to match or even outperform himself from last season. Obviously, that is not a tall task for anyone, but if there is one player who could do it, it is Lamar Jackson.
Experts, voters, and fans haven’t given this man the acclaim he deserves for his work this season. They say his numbers are down or he isn’t as dominant. Lies. It doesn’t take much effort or time to find out that Lamar’s numbers and production this season are similar, if not better, than what we saw him do last year. Through 8 games this season, Lamar Jackson has thrown 170 completions on 282 attempts for 2478 yards and 17 touchdowns against 5 interceptions, good for a completion percentage of 60.3%. Through 8 games last season, Lamar threw 158 completions on 271 attempts for 2522 yards and 22 touchdowns against 5 interceptions, with a completion percentage of 58.3%. People say they needed to see an improved passer in Lamar, and through 8 games he has certainly shown more accuracy and improved pocket presence. In terms of what makes Jackson so incredible, his rushing, Lamar has amassed 868 yards on 136 carries for 11 touchdowns. Last season through 8 games, Lamar had carried the ball 11 more times (147) for 996 yards for 16 touchdowns. His yards per carry this season is 6.38 YPC, compared to last season’s first 8 games of 6.78 YPC. With 11 fewer carries this season, it’s not crazy to think that Lamar could have the same number of touchdowns on the ground at this point as he did last year.
What I don’t like about the idea that Lamar this year has to outshine about Lamar last year is that the award isn’t about beating the numbers of last season’s candidates, it’s about outperforming the candidates of this season. Lamar leads the nation in total yards per game with an average of 418 yards per game. Only 25 TEAMS average more yards per game than Lamar Jackson. Lamar ranks 6th nationally in passing yards, 10th nationally in rushing yards, 7th in rushing touchdowns, 1st in yards per game, and 1st in total touchdowns responsible for with 28. Go ahead, look at those numbers and tell me this guy isn’t doing the exact same thing he did last year that made the entire country ‘ooh’, ‘ahh’, and drool over.
He has 10 fewer touchdowns, but still leads the nation in touchdowns responsible for. Once again, this should be about Lamar vs. everyone else, not Lamar this year vs. Lamar last year. He is at the top of the nation in nearly every statistic you could throw out there, yet the “experts” continue to undermine the level of his play. Keep in mind, last season Lamar had 8 touchdowns against an over-matched Charlotte team in the first game, this season his biggest touchdown output was against North Carolina when he had 6. Remember how everyone against Lamar as Heisman last year was crediting his award to the beginning of the season? Look at the numbers above and tell me they aren’t eerily similar. As long as the offensive line continues to improve and play like they have been, there will be no falloff in the last 4 games like what happened last season, his numbers will only get better.
I don’t really need to go any further in terms of making his case for his repeat chances, anyone who is doubting Lamar or saying he is undeserving needs to do their homework. Because like I said, it doesn’t take much time or effort to figure out who is the best player in the nation. His name is Lamar Jackson, and he’s been here for a while.
Give this man the Heisman..again.