By Maury Jackson, For The African-American Athlete
College football this year has been a season more so about the success of teams, rather than outstanding play of individuals.
Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, and Washington, just to name a few, haven’t really been highlighted by individual players as much, but rather by team success.
There weren’t really tons of players who had the season that previous standouts such as Reggie Bush, Mark Ingram, Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton, or even Tim Tebow.
Yet and still, you can’t ignore the tremendous season Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, who won the 2016 Heisman.
What many predicted to be a landslide victory for Jackson, wasn’t the case. He edged out Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Jackson was the clear choice as college football’s best player. It’s hard to argue anyone had a season close to Jackson’s.
The only argument against Jackson is, the Cardinals’ record wasn’t Heisman’ material, and he didn’t have a huge upset against a top tier team. However, if you look by the dynamic numbers, and extraordinary play-making, there is no reason he did not deserve the Heisman.
Jackson tallied 51 total touchdowns (31 pass 20 run), leading his offense to 45.3 points a game. He even became the first player in FBS history to pass for more than 3,300 yards and rush for more than 1,500 yards.
What makes everything even more special is that he is only a sophomore. Jackson has drawn comparisons to Michael Vick, with even better throwing ability.
So, why is it that America cannot just appreciate his talent?
Many claim that Jackson is one of the least deserving winners in history.
I disagree. If you take Lamar off that Louisville team, they aren’t making a bowl game.
NFL scouts and professionals are already claiming that his body frame (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) is not suited for the professional level. Former Louisville standout, Teddy Bridgewater, has a similar body type and suffered a non-contact knee injury over the summer.
Questions about Jackson’s play continue to surface: Can he consistently throw the ball down the field? Will he be able to stay healthy? Is he a winner? Will he turn into another Manziel, Vince Young, or RGIII?
Let’s just wait and see. In the meantime, why not appreciate his greatness for what it is now? He is a sophomore with lots of potential and time to grow. At this point, it is too early to tell how well he will fare in the NFL.
For now, America should acknowledge what they saw this past season, and realize that Jackson is the only player who deserved the Heisman trophy.