Louisville Quarterback Lamar Jackson Is Easily The Early Heisman Trophy Leader

    Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson dominated in a win over Florida State, making him the Heisman Trophy frontrunner.

    September 17, 2016


    Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson dominated in an easy win over Florida State on Saturday, making him the Heisman Trophy frontrunner.


    Lamar Jackson, welcome to the center of the college football universe.

    After dominating less-than-stellar competition in the first few weeks of the new season, the Louisville dual-threat quarterback announced to the college football world that he isn’t going anywhere any time soon, as the No. 10 Cardinals trounced No. 2 Florida State 63-20 on Saturday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

    Following lights-out performances against Charlotte and Syracuse the first two weeks, when the Boynton Beach, FL, product accounted for 13 total touchdowns (seven passing and six rushing) and 1,015 total yards despite sitting out roughly three quarters due to blowouts, Jackson had four rushing touchdowns and a passing score—giving him a ridiculous 18 in just three games—and 362 yards of total offense against the Seminoles to become the clear frontrunner for the sport’s most prestigious individual award.

    The Cardinals had a commanding 35-10 lead at halftime, with Jackson already logging 94 rushing yards, 180 passing yards and four scores. Louisville gained 375 total yards in the first half alone after putting up 406 against the Seminoles in the entire game last season.

    Looking at Louisville as a whole, coordinator Todd Grantham’s defense was exceptional, as star ‘Noles running back Dalvin Cook was held to 54 yards on 16 carries and quarterback Deondre Francois went just 7-of-18 passing for 101 yards. The special teams play was outstanding as well, as the Cards nearly had a second punt return for a touchdown. 

    This is a Louisville team that can beat Clemson in two weeks, and it also has a showdown game against Houston in November. Bobby Petrino vs. Tom Herman in a meeting of offensive minds? Yes, please.

    It’s still very early in the season, of course. We collectively have awarded the Heisman Trophy to Geno Smith after West Virginia’s hot start not too long ago, and we were about to do the same to Kenny Hill when he raced out to a strong start at Texas A&M. We do it almost every season. But this feels different.
    It is easy to make the comparison to former Virginia Tech star quarterback Michael Vick, because Jackson’s quickness, blazing speed, vision, arm strength and throwing motion are very similar to those attributes that the former Hokie possessed.
    For now, though, let’s just call him the most special player in America.

    The closing stretch of Louisville’s 2015 season allowed us to get a taste of Jackson. It began in the regular-season finale when he led a huge comeback effort in a win over rival Kentucky, and it continued in the Music City Bowl when he embarrassed Texas A&M’s defense by recording over 450 total yards.

    We saw the talent being displayed on the field in those two contests, but we wondered if the true sophomore Jackson could put it all together for a full season and if could he replicate the performances against elite teams.

    While watching a thorough beating of Florida State in every aspect of the game on Saturday, we found out that Louisville is no fluke.

    And Heisman voters found out that Jackson isn’t either.

    MORE: No. 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 4

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