CRAWFORD | Louisville's Jackson finishes third in repeat Heisman quest
Lamar Jackson's bid to become only the second player to win a second Heisman Trophy came up short, but the Louisville quarterback walked away with a smile in his second trip to Manhattan as a finalist.
NEW YORK, N.Y. (WDRB) – Lamar Jackson didn’t come to Manhattan this year with any delusions. He saw the odds against him becoming the second player ever to win multiple Heisman Trophies. He knew Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was the heavy favorite to win the hallowed award.
He knew the chances of Mayfield’s name being called – as it was Saturday night in the PlayStation Theatre, making him the 83rd Heisman winner.
But don’t worry about Lamar Jackson.
“I knew why I was coming here," Jackson said. "I was going to come here and cheer on those guys and and it's OK. I'm cool." Earlier, he said, "I've got one at home. I'm OK."
Mayfield totaled 2,398 points in the Heisman voting system, the third-highest total ever received. Stanford running back Bryce Love garnered 1,300 and Jackson wound up with 793. Mayfield was the first place choice on 732 of the 986 ballots cast. Jackson finished third in every region of the country, and was included on 54 percent of the 898 ballots cast.
After the ceremony, Jackson showed up with family members back at the Marriott Marquis, and took the elevator ride to the sixth floor to talk to some reporters from Louisville. He didn't have to do that. But doing so says something about him.
"Baker deserves it," Jackson said. "Bryce Love did too. Those guys deserved it. . . .
But win or lose, nothing can take away what Jackson has accomplished in college football, something no player has ever done. He’s the first player in major college football history to post back-to-back seasons with at least 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing.
Jackson got a feel for his place in the game’s history when he was looking up at the portraits of past winners. He made it a point to find Cam Newton, a player he has said all week was the one former winner he’s yet to meet that he wants to meet. He found Archie Griffin, the only two-time winner, and a player Jackson has expressed great respect for.
“Then I looked up to the left side and saw mine and thought, ‘Aw, man,’” Jackson said. “I was in shock.”
Jackson’s place in college football is secure. He has the trophy. He has done the things he has done. He was introduced with the other Heisman winners before the award was announced. And after Mayfield was announced as the winner, Jackson was invited from his spot with the other finalists onto the stage to stand with the other Heisman winners to congratulate Mayfield. Of course, he'll be invited back every season from here on.
"That was the coolest part about it for me," Jackson said. "After seeing those guys and shaking hands with them, getting to stand up with them was the best thing about it."
ESPN’s Lee Corso put Jackson's place into perspective during the Heisman telecast.
“Stat-wise, Lamar Jackson will go down as the best all-around quarterback, football player, that’s ever played the game. Ever,” Corso said. “Listen, in two years, he’s had more yards passing, running, and touchdowns responsible for – the guy’s a great football player. Not a bad resume. Lamar Jackson could be one of the great football players ever.”
Kirk Herbstreit, in response, said, “I’m glad he’s back here after the year he had. His team didn’t quite have the same year, but he deserves to be here.”
After the ceremony, Jackson shook his head when asked about Corso's comments.
"From Lee Corso, that's crazy. I'm going to cherish that one," he said.
Jackson showed up in Manhattan relaxed. A year ago, he admits it now, he felt the eyes of the college football world on him.
He was worried about his speech. He’d worked on it for a while.
This year, there was no speech written. Asked what he’d do if he heard his name called, he said, “If that happens, it’ll just have to come from the heart.”
Instead, Jackson just enjoyed coming to New York. He enjoyed interacting with Mayfield and Bryce Love of Stanford, and the past Heisman winners. He had fun with the process.
He showed up for the ceremony in a white suit his cousin helped him pick out, with a bow tie made of peacock feathers.
“I’m just going to ahead and say that Lamar told us earlier that he wasn’t going to outdo the red (suit he wore last season),” Mayfield said before the ceremony. “But he absolutely has.”
Said Love: “I feel like I can’t even touch Lamar right now, he’s so clean.”
For Jackson, it was all smiles.
“Last year I was nervous,” Jackson said. “This year I’m cool. . . . I’m just glad to be here. Last year I don’t know what I was thinking. My heart was dropping into my stomach. I thought I might faint. . . . I just felt like, beams staring at me, waiting to see what I was going to say. I just got the award, it was a childhood dream. I used to play the game, ‘Road to Glory,’ to have it happen in real life was just crazy.”
To have it happen again might’ve been too much to dream for.
But don’t feel bad for the Louisville legend. He’s still a Heisman winner. And he’s still smiling.
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