Add Lamar Jackson to Louisville’s greats


Louisville, it’s the home of the Kentucky Derby, the greatest two minutes in sports. It is the hometown of Muhammad Ali and Paul Hornung, two of the greatest athletes their sports have ever seen.

Now add this name to Louisville’s list of great athletes: Lamar Jackson.

The city has stocked NBA rosters with stars for decades, from the likes of Darrell “Dr. Dunkenstein” Griffith and Wes Unseld to Alan Houston and Rajon Rondo. Its namesake university was the launching pad for star quarterbacks Johnny Unitas and Teddy Bridgewater.

It was where three-time Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Mary T. Meagher, “Madame Butterfly,” learned to fly in the pool. And don’t forget golfer Bobby Nichols who defeated the likes of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.

Needless to say, it takes a lot to impress us around here.

The Courier-Journal congratulates yet another athlete bringing great pride to our city, University of Louisville’s star quarterback, who on Saturday became the program’s first Heisman Trophy winner.

Jackson has made this city proud both with his dazzling play and the way he has represented Louisville, his university and the sport of college football while in the spotlight, and we can think of no player who better exemplifies the type of excellence this city expects from athletes who call it home.

The college sophomore shattered expectations and broke records as he kept the Cardinals in playoff contention for much of the season, ultimately setting up a date with LSU in the Citrus Bowl. All the while, he racked up mind-boggling numbers on the field. He has led Louisville to a nation-leading 45.3 points per game, and his 51 total touchdowns (30 passing, 21 rushing) are more than any player’s single-season haul in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference, a league whose current members claim 24 national championships and eight previous Heisman Trophy winners.

To put those numbers in perspective, his 3,390 passing yards are about two Hail Marys from 2 miles’ worth of offense and his 1,538 yards rushing are worth almost another mile. Who knows just how much farther he’d have run if he hadn’t hit the back of the end zone so many times?

Whether Jackson becomes only the second two-time Heisman Trophy winner is yet to be seen, but we’re certain he’ll continue making this city, the commonwealth and the University of Louisville and its many fans proud.

And it might be time to be scouting out a building around town to hang a banner touting “Lamar’s Louisville.”

From The Courier-Journal. Online: http://www.courier-journal.com

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