Lamar Jackson meant so much to the University of Louisville and to the community in his three years here. His on-field accomplishments and off-field demeanor and actions were legendary. There will never be another Lamar Jackson at UofL or likely in football. That is why it is awesome to see Lamar’s number 8 not only be honored, but retired. His number will join only the late, great Johnny Unitas as the only two numbers that will never be worn again at UofL.
Lamar’s numbers speak for themselves. He averaged 238 yards passing and 108 yards rushing per game over his three year Cardinal career. A true dual-threat, Lamar passed for 9043 yards and rushed for 4132 yards and had 13,175 yards of total offense. Passing for 69 TDs and rushing for 50 TDs, Lamar had an astronomical 119 total TDs throughout his career.
During his epic Heisman season, Lamar passed for 3543 yards and rushed for 1571 yards with 30 TDs through the air and 21 on the ground. It is by far one of the single greatest single-season statistical performances in NCAA history. The numbers don’t do justice to what we witnessed on the field. He was so dominant, he rarely played in 4th quarters. Sometimes, he would barely play in a second half or not play the half at all. His statistics could’ve been even more insane. Whether you remember the long run knifing through FSU for a spin and TD, his leap over a hapless Syracuse defender, his accurate throws and dynamic runs as he led Louisville to a photo finish with Clemson on the road, or his bullet pass that went through an impossible window to Jamari Staples for a TD against NC State, Lamar provided memories for a lifetime for Card fans that culminated in a Heisman.
.@Lj_era8 teamed up with @IAmSteveHarvey to surprise a young man who's making a big difference in his community! #SteveOnWatch— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 13, 2021
Catch the full episode: https://t.co/ksjsdLjdOB pic.twitter.com/KFa5CpcMd6
Off the field, he was by all accounts a studious young man and very humble. His humbleness shown through when he spoke with media or took time out to speak with fans after open practices. Lamar is the type of person that wants to make others feel good and special. We saw it recently with Lamar’s video message to a young fan on the Steve Harvey Show where he mentions the young man’s affinity for basketball, rapping, and football. He then makes it personable by saying he can’t rap with him, but can shoot some hoops or throw the pigskin around with him. It can be seen when he checked on a photographer after a game where he ran into him accidentally on the sideline or in how he referred to the venerable NFL sideline reporter Lisa Salters respectfully as Miss Lisa last Monday night. You can tell why fans in Louisville, Baltimore, and in general get so defensive when people take shots at Lamar.
Lamar left Louisville and is now one of the best QBs in the NFL, constantly becoming the first to do a lot of things. One of his biggest accomplishments was winning the NFL MVP award in 2019, becoming the second unanimous MVP in NFL history. He’s now having another great season and is looking at a chance at a second MVP trophy.
Throughout history, there have been myths of men and creatures like Atlas or Unicorns. Lamar Jackson is no myth, of course, but what he did on the field and the way he treated people off the field seems mythical. Like Atlas, he lifted and held the UofL football program up nationally. His feats of athleticism, leadership, and greatness on the field make him a unicorn of our time. Louisville fans witnessed something special. There will never be another player like him and we all bore witness and continue to do so. Many think it taboo to have two teams to root for in any one sport. Yet, I’m pretty sure in Louisville every person has two favorite teams…the team they grew up loving and Lamar’s Ravens.
Before we conclude, I have my own personal story regarding Lamar. I remember my buddy and I watching him nearly lead the Cards to a second half comeback over Auburn in his first game in 2015. I told my buddy that Lamar is a superstar and was going to win the Heisman. I am by no means prophetic, but Lamar ended up making me a prophet after that day.
Congrats to Lamar Jackson as he will become only the second number retired in program history. Years from now we fans will be able to tell our children and grandchildren all about the legend of Lamar Jackson in a UofL football uniform. Hopefully, they will believe us and not think us insane.
Below, you can read some of the congratulatory tweets for Lamar and UofL’s full press release regarding retiring the number of the great Lamar Jackson:
Congratulations to our beloved @lj_era8! We are so proud of you and can’t wait to celebrate you here in #TheVille! I’ll wear my favorite jacket if you wear yours… ❤️🖤 #GoCards https://t.co/qjBEI7lcby pic.twitter.com/JzX9fWzSE1— Neeli Bendapudi (@UofLPresNeeli) October 16, 2021
I will never forget how Lamar Jackson causally did this pic.twitter.com/orSryZkSJr— CFBTalkDaily (@CFBTalkDaily) October 16, 2021
Lamar Jackson joins Johnny Unitas as the only players to have their number retired by Louisville. 👏 pic.twitter.com/NMgxYEDfoD— theScore (@theScore) October 16, 2021
“That’s unreal. You can’t really put that in words.”— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 16, 2021
“I ain’t gonna cry on camera though.” 😂@Lj_Era8 was emotional when he found out @UofLFootball was retiring his jersey number. @GoCards pic.twitter.com/FRuEb1l3DI
Louisville retiring Lamar Jackson’s No. 8 jersey during Cards’ Nov. 13 game vs. Syracuse. The Heisman Trophy winner joins Johnny Unitas as only players w/numbers retired at UL— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) October 16, 2021
✔️First-ever Heisman recipient in school history— Bobby Trosset (@bobbywbal) October 16, 2021
✔️9,043 passing yards
✔️69 passing TDs
✔️4,132 rushing yards
✔️50 rushing TDs @Lj_era8's three years at Louisville were nothing short of sensational and now there will never be another No. 8 worn in Cardinal football. pic.twitter.com/lL6mCPEKkd
The best to ever put on that #8.— Keith TowBridge II (@unclekeeef) October 16, 2021
LEGENDARY. It was an honor blocking for you, catching passes from you and being a teammate of yours @Lj_era8
Continue to prove yourself right! Go win it all!!! https://t.co/pRsVy4Zdkh
Blessed to say this man was my quarterback!!! https://t.co/6pHARPV78E— Trending Topic 🤫 (@BigTicket73) October 16, 2021
Best to ever do it. Congrats #8! https://t.co/F2mqKsrQoS— Jaylen Smith (@JaylenSmith_12) October 16, 2021
No one more deserving. Lamar is the definition of “a better person than he is a player”. Can confidently say he is the most humble superstar in the world. Congrats my brother! Forever immortalized. #8 https://t.co/smL4w2clLo— GG Robinson (@GGRobinson) October 16, 2021
Congrats Lamar – Not only was he one of the best to play college football, you can see how beloved he is among those who love him in Louisville. That is pure and genuine, and it was truly an incredible experience to follow him around that 2016 season. https://t.co/cm1DIDErSg— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) October 16, 2021
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville legend Lamar Jackson will have his No. 8 jersey number retired on Nov. 13 during a ceremony at the Cardinals’ home game versus Syracuse, Vice President/Director of Athletics Vince Tyra announced on Saturday.
Jackson will join Johnny Unitas as the only other player in UofL history to have his number retired. Unitas’ No. 16 was retired in 2003.
“Lamar earned the Heisman and then the NFL MVP, and he’s not even 25 years old. Even more remarkable, he’s only getting better. He was born shortly before Tom Brady entered the league so has the time to beyond anything we’ve seen before. His humble heart and grounded approach endears him to his teammates, his coaches and any staff he’s ever been around. He knows it takes eleven to be successful on offense, not one. We’re so proud to retire his number 8 for what he has accomplished so far but are equally excited about what’s to come. This city has big L’s up for our guy.”, adds Tyra.
Wide receiver Tyler Harrell and defensive lineman Henry Bryant, who are currently wearing that number this season, will have the opportunity to finish the season in that jersey before the number will be officially retired at the end of the year.
Jackson, a three-year letterwinner for the Cardinals from 2015-17, became the youngest player ever (19 years, 337 days) to win the Heisman Trophy Award in 2016 and was named a finalist for the award in 2017. He won multiple national awards, including the Maxwell Award (2016), Walter Camp Player of the Year (2016), Associated Press Player of the Year (2016), CBS Sports Player of the Year (2016), The Sporting News Player of the Year (2016), ACC Player of the Year (2016, 2017) and ACC Offensive Player of the Year (2016, 2017) – the first time in league history a player won back-to-back awards.
The Pompano Beach, Fla., native set or tied 42 Louisville single‑game, season, and career records during his time in the Derby City and owns seven Atlantic Coast Conference marks.
“We couldn’t ask for a better representative of our football program. Lamar’s influence goes far beyond our campus—he’s got this entire city behind him every day and we can’t wait to welcome him home.”, adds Louisville Head Coach Scott Satterfield.
Jackson passed for 9,043 yards, 69 touchdowns and rushed 655 times for a school record 4,132 yards (6.3 avg.) and 50 touchdowns. He finished his career ranking sixth in the FBS for career rushing yards (4,132) by a quarterback and became the third player in FBS history to record 50 career rushing and 50 career passing touchdowns in a career.
Playing only three seasons, Jackson is the only player in FBS history to rush for at least 1,500 yards and pass for at least 3,500 yards in a season (accomplished the feat in both 2016 & 2017).
Playing in only 38 career games at UofL, Jackson owns school records for total yards (13,175) and total yards per game (346.7 ypg – ACC record).
Jackson was selected No. 32 in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens and has become one of the top quarterbacks in the league. In his fourth season, Jackson was named the Associated Press and PFWA NFL MVP (2019) and PFWA Offensive Player of the Year (2019).
During his MVP season, Jackson threw for 3,127 yards and a league high 36 TDs (also a franchise record). He added 1,206 rushing yards (sixth in the league), the most by a QB in NFL single-season history and helped Baltimore set a new NFL single-season team record for rushing yards (3,296).
The UofL Athletics Department will announce additional information regarding fan engagement in the weeks leading up to the Syracuse contest.
Tickets for the Syracuse game can be purchased by visiting gocards.com/tickets.