Back Lamar Jackson is the Best College Football Player Ever

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Lamar Jackson is the Best College Football Player Ever

By Jim Johnson
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He is not necessarily the greatest ever. That carries a different connotation, with the implication of having won championships, but as far as pure talent and production, he is in a class all his own.

It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating… There is no historical precedent for Lamar Jackson. There has never been anyone like him in football. He is without compare; singularly unique in his dynamism.

The only worthwhile comparison for the 2017 iteration of Jackson is himself, a year ago.

Yet, even having become the youngest Heisman winner ever, for his sophomore campaign, from a sheer production standpoint, or at least efficiency point of view in some cases, he has improved, almost across the board, as a junior.

In fact, the only reason he didn’t become the second person to ever hoist the sport’s most prestigious individual award twice is the frame of reference through which he is viewed -- something that he, himself, created. He’s simply a victim of his own success.

Beyond all of that, though, it’s time to recognize Lamar Jackson for what he is: the best college football player of all-time.

He is not necessarily the greatest ever. That carries a different connotation, with the implication of having won championships, but as far as pure talent and production, he is in a class all his own. There’s not a better college player to start or build a team around. Transcendent of his supporting cast, as has been on full display behind that offensive line the past two years, there’s never been a player more well equipped to succeed, nay dominate, in spite of his circumstances.

To share this truth is not to be a prisoner of the moment, rather a free citizen of reality. For it is those unable to appreciate the moment, out of some misplaced historical reverence, that are missing out.

Way back in week eleven, against Virginia, he became the first player to ever throw for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.

He’s the third player in FBS history to both rush and throw for at least 50 touchdowns.

Despite only being the full-time starter for two years, he will, if he leaves for the NFL, finish his career with the most total yards of any power five junior ever, and in the top 25, among all players, for total offense and touchdowns responsible for.

Over the past two years against Clemson, who easily had one of the ten best defenses in college football last year and probably the best this year, he compiled 838 yards, and six touchdowns.

His lowest offensive yardage total of this season was 333, against Kent State, which he compiled on all of 30 plays.

He’s averaging more than 30 yards of offense per game than his next closest competitor.

Jackson accelerates out of a read option like a brand new Bugatti, getting to his top gear with alacrity never before exhibited by another signal caller.

In the open field, he has ruined more lives than the Great Depression, sending countless linebackers and defensive backs’ families into witness protection for the career ending embarrassment he inflicted upon those poor, would-be tacklers.

With Herculean arm strength and medical precision, his deep ball is as effortlessly beautiful as it is deadly, like Angels Trumpets.

Of the nation’s other top quarterbacks, especially as it relates to the NFL Draft, no one has shown more improvement as a passer over the last 365 days. Where most have regressed, or gotten only incrementally better, he has done everything necessary to fully assuage any legitimate concerns about his professional potential. (Anyone spouting off about why he can’t be an NFL quarterback, at this point, either is purposefully lying, hasn’t watched him, or is an idiot)

Based on his merits as a passer, alone, he deserves to be the first quarterback taken in the 2018 NFL Draft.

There has never been a player like Lamar Jackson. He averaged more yards per game, in 2017, than Sam Darnold and Saquon Barkley combined.

He is the quintessential leader. His dedication is unassailable. The fact that Lamar Jackson, who, for the first time in his career, last season, played with any sort of a grasp of a playbook, high school included, has catapulted himself into the elite ranks, even purely as a passer, of the sport is incredible. The rate at which he is clearly able to receive, digest, and process information, and convert said information into tangible results is immeasurable. His unwavering self belief, insatiable appetite for competition, and undeniable willingness to do what it takes to be the best is everything anyone could ever hope for in a the face of program.

No one could have blamed him for sitting out the Taxslayer Bowl against Mississippi State’s vaunted front seven that tortured Louisville’s offensive line all day. He played however, explaining that he owed it to his team. That, of course, could not be further from the truth. Lamar Jackson doesn’t owe anything to anyone. Conversely, it is college football, at large, that owes him the world.

As such, it is time for that to manifest itself in the acknowledgement that the 2016 Heisman Trophy Winner is a talent wholly unique talent, unlike anything ever seen in the sport’s history.

The best to ever play college football, he will be missed.

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP