#8 Lamar Jackson
Hometown: Boynton Beach, FL
Thoughts: If you read yesterdays post then let’s go ahead and make that “four” straight freshman that I’ve covered which could/should impact the 2015 season. While Samuel received his fair share of hype the local media and the majority of the fan base covered the Lamar Jackson recruitment much closer than any other player in the 2015 class. Obviously the quarterback position is more prominent than others, but Jackson was also one of the first “we’ve got a real shot to beat out Florida St, Auburn, Florida, Notre Dame, etc” type player since Petrino’s return. One would imagine having a Sportscenter Top 10 highlight make the rounds on social media didn’t hurt his following either...
Since Jacksons arrival he has received his fair share of praise but as with any freshman, it hasn’t all been puppies and rainbows, including Coach McGee saying “He’s just a young goofy freshman right now” adding later “We’re just trying to teach him how to play college football. (It’s) about timing and precision in the passing game. It’s not dropping back and (just) throwing the ball around the field.” (Per Steve Jones article) I think most realistic observers would expect to see some freshman mistakes emerge from Jackson, especially only a few days into camp, and Lamar getting what appeared to be fourth string reps for the majority of the first couple weeks wasn’t unexpected. Thoughts of Lamar taking a redshirt actually crossed my mind a few times early in camp, knowing he had the skills to be successful but not sure if he could wrap them all up into a pretty enough package to see the field this season. While I was off thinking about the pros and cons of a redshirt Jackson was evidently at practice starting to show coaches just what he was capable of doing…which included forcing me to wad up a ridiculous “pros and cons” list. More and more love from those around the program was being directed at Jackson and early this week Coach McGee, once again discussing the QB race, went out of his way to say “all four” quarterbacks are really good players and that they trust “all four, Lamar included”.
So, is he going to play this year? It sure sounds like it, and I have no problem with that, after all, his skill set is pretty damn good. He has crazy speed (ask Rajon Rondo, who he beat in a footrace early this summer) but it becomes significantly more deadly because his control and footwork. His ability to stop and start and his lateral movement without losing speed is like nothing I’ve ever seen from a quarterback. In the open field he’s a weapon, and there is not really a better way to describe it. In terms of mechanics Coach McGee recently praised his release, saying it’s one of the quickest he’s seen and that he can place the ball very well around the field, and most importantly, because chicks dig it, he can throw the long ball with ease, almost reminisent of Teddy’s “lob” that just so happens to go 40 yards down field. The intangibles are all there so seeing Lamar in 2015 not only seems realistic, but probable.
I read about some of the head turning plays from Lamar in the open practices and I of course have seen his highlights from his time at Boynton Beach so I’m well aware of what he brings to the table, but it makes me tingle inside (is it manly to “tingle”?) knowing that some of those skills are already starting to surface just a few weeks into his college career. I know we’re all spinning our heads thinking about who our starting quarterback may be, but Louisville legitimately has four players who deserve reps at the Division-I level. Not that long ago you could argue that we didn’t have one. Let’s enjoy watching this offense come to life.
I see Mr. Boynton Beach is getting accustomed to how they do things up in Louisville. #BallIsLife