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Lamar Jackson’s Impact

By BJ Bennett
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For all of the highlights, Lamar Jackson's most-remarkable move has been making the previously-impossible the neverending-norm

Lamar Jackson has had the type of career that isn't best displayed in a glass case, rather best featured in frame of reference. Though Jackson can lay claim to the most prestigious individual honor in all of sports, winning the 2016 Heisman Trophy, his main career competition has been himself. Nobody in history has done what Jackson has, making his story, one without context, a hard one to tell. This is a narrative best shaped by numbers.

In just two full seasons as starter, Jackson has compiled 12,846 total yards, good for 25th in college football history. He will move into the same famed ranking with his next touchdown. Jackson, facing some of the best defenses in the country, has literally had the production of two different legendary players at once; he already has more career passing yards than Dan Marino and and more career rushing yards than Emmitt Smith.

This fall, you can add up the passing yards of Jake Browning (2,544), the rushing yards of Saquon Barkley (1,134) and the receiving yards of Courtland Sutton (1,017) and Jackson, minus his last two quarters of the regular season, even, would still have more total offense. Replace him with Louisville and Jackson would rank in the top five in the ACC in production per game. Jackson, alone, has scored more touchdowns than Florida State.

Though he didn't win the 2017 Heisman Trophy, actually finishing third, Jackson's numbers stack up favorably to his peers. Jackson averages over 50 yards more per game than winner Baker Mayfield. As a quarterback, mind you, Jackson has 55 runs of ten yards or more compared to Bryce Love's 47, with the two having the same number of rushing touchdowns at 17. Jackson, in fact, has more plays of ten yards or more this season than College Football Playoff participants Alabama, Clemson and Georgia.  

One year after becoming the youngest Heisman Trophy winner ever and the first player with 3,300 yards passing and 1,500 yards rushing in a single season, Jackson, somehow, got better. His passing yards per game, completion percentage and touchdown-to-interception ratio, along with his yards per carry, all improved. Jackson enters the TaxSlayer Bowl playing some of the best football of his career: seven passing scores and zero picks in his last three games and 933 rushing yards over his last six.

Jackson's production has been so revolutionary, college football still doesn't know how to respond. An average performance from Jackson is one with a place in history, a real-time relativity to which we can't keep up. After eight touchdowns in the first half of his first game last season, Jackson has been chasing his own shadow ever since; fans, media and opposing defenses have been left chasing their tails. Pages in the record books have yet to settle.

With 188 total yards in what will very like be his final college outing, Jackson would pass Marcus Mariota for the most total yards of any power five junior of all-time, with the second-most yards of any three-year player ever, despite only starting eight games as a freshman. Nobody has done it quite like this.

The only true measure for Jackson is his own past. For all of the highlights, Jackson's most-remarkable move has been making the previously-impossible the neverending-norm. He continues to be graded on a scale, one where his numbers have replaced all names. Lamar Jackson hasn't just compiled impressive statistics, he has shaped how they are now seen.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: / Twitter: @BJBennettSports