Lamar Jackson is undeniably one of the most recognizable figures in football today. In his young career, the Baltimore Ravens quarterback has already established himself as one of the best players in the league.
Jackson has led a storied life to get to where he is today. In recognition of the inspiration he has provided to millions around the world, let’s take a look at what made Lamar Jackson the superstar he is today.
Lamar Jackson was born on January 7, 1997, and grew up in Pompano Beach, Florida. As a child, he lived in small apartments and attended various public schools. Tragedy struck him early in his life when he lost his father and grandmother on the same day when he was eight years old.
Jackson played Pop Warner football as a child and immediately showed signs of being a talented football player, having the ability to throw a football 20 yards at the tender age of eight.
He then attended Boynton Beach High School in Florida where he played two seasons of varsity football. At an early age, Jackson was already a hard worker who showed consistent development and watched hours of film each week. He graduated from high school and he was rated either a three-star or four-star recruit by most recruiting companies.
Establishing Himself in College
Due to his talent and potential, Jackson received offers from multiple schools, and he eventually chose to play for the Louisville Cardinals in 2015. He showed flashes of his immense talent early in his college career, winning MVP in the 2015 Music City Bowl as a freshman.
It was in his sophomore year where Jackson came into full bloom. In 2016, Jackson received multiple awards, among which are the Walter Camp Award and the Maxwell Award, and the coveted Heisman Trophy, where he bested finalists such as Deshaun Watson and Baker Mayfield. Jackson also made history as the first Heisman Trophy winner in Louisville’s school history.
He remained brilliant in his junior year, and despite the relative lack of team success, Jackson nonetheless performed well on the field and was rightfully recognized for his efforts. He placed third in Heisman voting that year and was named ACC Athlete of the Year across all conference sports.
After his junior year, Jackson declared for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Getting into the NFL
Lamar Jackson had many doubters before he made it to the NFL. Some experts expressed doubt as to whether or not Jackson could play quarterback in the NFL, but he remained firm that he intends to play quarterback professionally.
Jackson opted to showcase his passing skills in the NFL Combine, and declined to participate in drills such as the 40-yard dash. He was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round and 32nd overall in the draft.
Jackson made his professional debut as a reliever in the second half for then Ravens starting quarterback Joe Flacco in a 47-3 win against the Buffalo Bills. He made his first NFL start on November 18, 2018, standing in place of an injured Joe Flacco against the Cincinnati Bengals.
In his rookie season, Jackson started in seven regular-season games, where the Ravens went 6-1 to close out the season.
He then became the youngest quarterback to start a playoff game when the Ravens were matched up against the Los Angeles Chargers during the Wild Card Round. The Ravens unfortunately lost and were knocked out, but Jackson’s performance was enough to establish himself in the league.
At the end of the 2018 season, the Ravens coaching staff overhauled their offensive strategy and created a new system with Jackson as the centerpiece.
Becoming a Household Name in Football
Jackson flourished in his role as the franchise quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens. He once again led the Ravens to the postseason but they were upset by the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round.
Nonetheless, Jackson’s incredible performance in the regular season earned him a host of accolades. Lamar was named the starting quarterback for the 2020 Pro Bowl where he was named the offensive MVP. He was also the youngest quarterback to start a Pro Bowl game in NFL history.
At the end of the 2019 season, Jackson was voted as the league’s Most Valuable Player, becoming the second player in NFL history to be named unanimous MVP, after Tom Brady. Jackson is also the second-youngest player to win the illustrious award, after only Jim Brown.
In the 2020 season, Jackson remained excellent and netted his first playoff win in the Wild Card Round against the Tennessee Titans. Unfortunately, in the Divisional Round, Jackson sustained a concussion in a game against the Buffalo Bills, which ended his season as the Ravens lost.
In his relatively young career, Jackson has already achieved many things that other players could not achieve in a full career. Apart from being named the unanimous 2019 MVP, Jackson is also a recipient of the Bert Bell Award, the FedEx Player of the Year Award, and was named first-team All-Pro once in his career.
He has also made his mark in the record books by becoming the first quarterback with multiple 1000-yard rushing seasons and setting the record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season. Lamar Jackson’s career is already brilliant as it is, but the future is much brighter.
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