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Take Two: Should Lamar Jackson be in the Heisman Trophy mix?

Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson (AP Images)

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape. National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and an expert from the network.

MORE TAKE TWO: Is Baker Mayfield a first-rounder? | LSU for Terrace Marshall Jr.?



Lamar Jackson became the youngest Heisman Trophy winner a season ago, blowing away the competition en route to the award.

The Louisville quarterback totaled 4,928 yards last season and had 51 total touchdowns. Amazing numbers and there was not a tremendous amount of controversy when Jackson won the Heisman.

So why are so many other names being mentioned before his this season? Jackson has 4,560 total yards and 40 touchdowns. He’s absolutely dominated games on a Louisville team that has lost plenty of stars from last year. Watch Jackson and it’s clear he’s one of the best all-around players in the game. In comparison, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, the Heisman front-runner, has 4,056 total yards and 39 TDs.

However, Mayfield - even after some crude sideline antics against Kansas this past weekend - along with Stanford running back Bryce Love, Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and Arizona quarterback Kahlil Tate are often mentioned before Jackson in the Heisman chatter.

Is it because Louisville is 7-4 overall and 4-4 in the ACC? Is it because the Cardinals don’t have a signature win like they did over Florida State last season, or even a signature loss like at Clemson in a thriller?

Are voters possibly just used to Jackson’s dominance?

With a huge game in the regular-season finale against Kentucky, Jackson could inch toward his incredible numbers from last season. But, still, it’s unlikely he wins back-to-back Heismans.


Lamar Jackson is still the best player in college football. He likely won't win the Heisman, and that's a damn shame. Remember last year when Jackson was the runaway winner of the Heisman Trophy? He had such a massive lead that most betting sites stopped taking bets on him.

“He has almost the same stats this year, 4,476 total yards through 11 games last year, 4,560 total yards this year. This season, he has passed for 3,273 yards and 23 touchdowns and he has rushed for 1,287 yards and 17 touchdowns. And yet he was not listed among the five 'leaders' according to a national TV broadcast Saturday? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

“So why is he not listed? After giving it a lot of thought, it breaks down to just two reasons - neither of which are valid reasons to deny him a second Heisman.

“Reason one, Louisville isn't as good this year. Last year, Louisville was 9-1 at the point when most Heisman voters were making their minds up. Never mind that Louisville finished 9-4 and that this year's Louisville team is currently 7-4 with two games to go. Louisville was part of the top 25 highlight packages last year and they aren't this year. Many voters get their news from the top 25 blurbs, and Jackson and Louisville haven't been in there since week 3.

“Reason two that voters won't pick Jackson, and it's just as lame. He's not new. Last season he took the college football world by storm. This season, all the voters and analysts and highlight shows seem to want to crown someone new - and they've all settled on Baker Mayfield. Settle is the operative word here. Mayfield is a great college football player. Mayfield is the best passer in the nation, but Jackson is outpacing Mayfield by 500 yards of total offense and Jackson is easily the most-dangerous threat to collegiate defenses.

“Jackson is still the best player in college football. I just hope Heisman voters realize it before they cast their votes.”


“He has fewer touchdowns and fewer wins. The stats are there but he’s not scoring as often as he was before and his team is not nearly as good. They don’t have any marquee wins. Last year, he got a lot of momentum off that Florida State win. There is really no big win this year that you can point to that is Jackson’s Heisman moment.

“Statistically, we’ve seen guys who have set records and didn’t win the Heisman like Christian McCaffrey. Jackson won last year, he should be in New York, but I don’t think he should pass Mayfield.”