The University of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson ended his year with a bang as he received the 2016 Heisman Memorial Trophy in December, and he did not miss the opportunity to thank his “Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
A visibly shaking and surprised Jackson went up the stage at the PlayStation Theater in Manhattan to receive the award. In his acceptance speech, he first of all acknowledged what God has done in his life.
“First and foremost, before I go further along with my speech, I wanna thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Jackson said. “Without Him, none of us would be here tonight.”
The 19-year-old sophomore quarterback is the 82nd and the youngest winner of the Heisman Memorial Trophy, which is given annually to recognize the most outstanding college football player.
“To the Heisman voters, I’m truly honored and humbled to be the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, to be able to stand up here like all the other former Heisman Trophy winners,” he said.
Jackson is the first player in his university to have received the award.
“I’m extremely proud to represent this class in the University of Louisville with their first Heisman Trophy,” he said.
He described the moment as “an experience of a lifetime” that he would never forget. He thanked his teammates and said the award is for all of them.
He likewise thanked the school’s athletic director Tom Jurich, who he said believed in him when he first came to the university, and the school’s head coach Bobby Petrino, who went to his home, talked to him and his mom and offered him the opportunity to play.
Jackson said these people helped him become who he is today.
“Two years ago, I had many choices. Throughout the process, there was one school who stood by my side, and that place I fell in love with immediately, and that’s the University of Louisville. They helped me make the greatest decision of my life,” he added.
Jackson turned emotional when he thanked and honored his mother, Felicia Jones, who raised him up as a single mother. He recounted the strength she showed when they lost his father and his grandmother on the same day and how she taught him to be a man in difficult situations.
“She put so much into me,” he said. He fought back tears, teasing that, “I told my teammates I’m not gonna cry, but it is crazy right now!”
Jackson has a stunning 4,928 yards of total offense, second only to fellow Heisman winner Ty Detmer’s record of 5,022. Last year, he passed for 3,390 yards and 30 scores and had 1,538 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground.
Jackson is famous for doing amazing hurdles that fans have referred to as the “Lamar leap.” He is the first Heisman awardee with at least 30 touchdowns passing and 21 touchdowns rushing. He is also the first to accomplish 3,000 yards passing and 1,500 yards rushing within the same season in the history of the Football Bowl Subdivision.