Jackson named premier player
Louisville QB looks like Heisman favorite
atlanta» Lamar Jackson picked up another trophy for his marvelous season. He got a glimpse of the one he really wants. On a red-carpet night in Atlanta, Jackson captured the Maxwell Award as the nation’s top college player Thursday night and signaled himself as the clear favorite for the Heisman Trophy.
Jackson already won the Walter Camp Award, also given to the best player.
“I’m shocked. I’ve got butterflies. I never had those before,” the sophomore said, posing with his Maxwell Award after a ceremony at the College Football Hall of Fame, where eight other award winners were announced.
In an interesting twist, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson claimed the Davey O’Brien award as the nation’s top quarterback for the second year in a row — beating out Jackson.
Now it’s on to New York, where they’re both finalists for college football’s most prestigious individual award.
“He’s a tremendous player himself. He’s done lot of great things,” Jackson said of Watson.
Both quarterbacks got a look at a 25-pound Heisman Trophy on display in the Hall of Fame. Jackson was impressed by the size. “It’s a big trophy,” he said. “I’m going to need to do some more push-ups.” Maybe not. Watson hasn’t given up on his dream of claiming the Heisman before he heads off to the NFL. He won’t return for his senior season, having already earned his college degree in three years.
“I have a lot of confidence in the way I’ve played over the course of the season,” said Watson, who finished third in the Heisman race a year ago behind winner Derrick Henry of Alabama and runner-up Christian McCaffrey of Stanford.
While the Maxwell voting is a solid indication of how the Heisman race might go, it’s no guarantee. In fact, only two of the last five winners — Henry and Marcus Mariota in 2014 — went on to capture the more illustrious award.
Watson is holding out hope that he’ll pull out a come-from-behind victory over Jackson, who had been considered the overwhelming favorite until the Cardinals lost their last two games.