LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After Lamar Jackson announced his intention to declare for the NFL Draft on Friday, I put together this short Facebook video as a bit of a tribute to the Heisman winner and most decorated football player in Louisville history. A couple of folks asked me to share it in some format other than Facebook, so here it is.

In 25 years as a sports writer, it’s quite likely that I’ve written more words about Lamar Jackson than any other athlete. Jackson declared for the NFL Draft today, opening a new chapter in his story. But it’s been a privilege to cover these fascinating, formative early pages.
 
Jackson is an original. He is the most exciting college football player many of us have ever seen. When I began photographing Louisville football games, I began to notice that every frame of Jackson is a story, choreographed chaos, energy and poetry. With Jackson, every ordinary snap was fraught with potential.
 
Jackson did things that have never been done in college football. And he did them in Louisville. Who would imagine, a Heisman Trophy winner in Louisville? After Jackson, it’s no longer a dream.
 
Jackson was a great teammate. He cared about the people he played with. He was a great person. He cared about the people he lived around. And above all, perhaps, he is a great competitor. He is a football player, full stop. When some suggested he skip Louisville’s bowl game this year, he didn’t understand. Skip a game? He’s a football player. He’s part of a team. He played. His jersey as he walked off the field for the final time as a Cardinal spoke to what he gave here.
 
One day, they will erect a statue of Jackson here. I’m not sure what pose the statue will depict, the Heisman, his leap of a Syracuse defender. Whatever the statue’s design, there ought to be a spotlight shining up through it. For Louisville, the university and athletic department, he was a shining light in dark times.
 
His numbers in Louisville are unmatched, 42 school records. But his real legacy here is his story. His Heisman dream began as a boy playing video games. It grew in high school in Florida, with teammates who said, “Meet me in New York” to each other after practice. It came to life in Louisville, for a guy nobody thought would attain it, in a place few thought it could be attained.
 
Lamar Jackson always kept reaching, kept working, kept learning. He won with humility. He lost with class. He leaves with gratitude.
 
It’s a powerful legacy. Thanks Lamar, and good luck.

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