Analyzed Sports | Charron Elliott
Sleeping on Lamar Could Be a Huge Mistake
The 2017 college football season is slowly approaching us, and with that being said the conversation for who will be the best player in the country has already started. Of course, you have to start with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Lamar Jackson out of the University of Louisville, who has pretty much been slept on coming into this season. ESPN didn’t even have Jackson ranked as a top-five QB coming into this season, which is for lack of better words “disrespectful.” So I found it worthwhile to give my various reasons why a Back-to-Back Heisman trophy could be looming for LJ8.
Historical Numbers with Bad O-Line, Yet No Respect
Lamar Jackson scored 51 touchdowns and became the only player in college football history to register over 3,300 passing yards while rushing for over 1,500 yards, with one of the worst offensive lines in the country last season. Louisville’s O-Line allowed a brutal 47 sacks (fifth worst out of all FBS schools) in 2016 and games against Houston and especially LSU in the Citrus Bowl, it seemed Jackson was running around for dear life at times. Louisville brought in offensive line coach Mike Summers from Florida and signed several three-star offensive linemen, so that will have a lot to do with Jackson’s successful season.
Small Improvements Could Mean Big Results For Jackson
While throwing for 3,543 passing yards and completing nearly 56 percent of his passes, I still think Lamar could improve as a passer. The main thing for me isn’t his arm strength or even his accuracy; it’s just him throwing the ball higher and improving his passing mechanics in general. There were games in which he would throw the ball low enough for the defensive lineman to swat it down numerous times last season and that has to change in particular against the more athletic teams like Florida State and Clemson.
I know it’s crazy to think that after leading the Cardinals in rushing yards (1,571) last season that Jackson could be even better this year but it’s entirely possible. It’s mainly due to his decision-making, there were times last season he could have broken out of a play sooner and ran for a few yards instead of waiting too long for plays to develop or forcing passes that weren’t there. Also, Jackson registered eight fumbles, five in which he lost, but with Lamar adding ten plus lbs of muscle it could be harder for other teams to knock the football away from him.
Schedule Presents A Lot of Opportunities for Great Stat Lines
Lastly, Louisville’s schedule currently isn’t that intimidating to me besides games against conference foes Florida State and Clemson, who are both ranked in the top 10 in numerous preseason polls. Two additional games that could present a challenge for Jackson and the Cardinals are their first road game of the season against North Carolina and the in-state rivalry showdown against Kentucky because you never know what can happen. Other than that Lamar should have some pretty incredible numbers this season and could even top last year’s historically great season.
He will get his first opportunity against the Purdue Boilermakers on September 2nd at Lucas Oil Stadium.