Lamar Jackson was last season’s Heisman Trophy winner and there’s a decent chance the Louisville quarterback wins it again this season.
That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a lock to be a superstar in the NFL one day, though. After all, there have been former Heisman Trophy winners in the past who have busted out in the league. The college game is much different than the professional game, and not every player is meant to shine in both.
That’s just the reality of the situation, though it was probably unwise for an anonymous ACC coach to trash Jackson this past winter when speaking with Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated. The ACC coach was talking about now former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and how he compared to other ACC quarterbacks in terms of NFL potential. It wasn’t a pretty scene.
“Watson has a chance to be at least as good as Winston,” he said. “We played he and Lamar Jackson, and Jackson has no shot at playing quarterback in the NFL. None. He can’t make the throws and can’t read coverages. He’s not going to have a chance. Watson stands tall in the pocket and whips the ball around like Ben Roethlisberger.”
That’s a huge shot at the Heisman Trophy winner, though it must have been pretty easy to take under the guise of anonymity.
That anonymity may be broken now, though, because Jackson thinks he knows which coach was speaking about him. Talking to Gentry Estes of the Courier-Journal, the Louisville quarterback pegged a Wake Forest coach as the culprit.
“Yeah, I heard Wake Forest. I heard (it was) the Wake Forest coach,” Jackson said Saturday during U of L’s media day. “But we won, so I don’t really care.”
He also went on to say that said coach doesn’t have the ability to predict the future.
“I’m in college still,” Jackson said Saturday in response. “He can’t judge the future. God could. Not him. He’s not God. So I’m not worried.”
Jackson didn’t call out Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson specifically, but from the sounds of it, that’s exactly who he thinks trashed him in Sports Illustrated this past winter. Of course, it could have been an assistant coach at Wake Forest and there’s always the possibility that Jackson has bad information.
For his part, Clawson denied the Louisville quarterback’s claims, calling them “fake news”.
“I never said those things. I have great respect for Lamar Jackson as a football player,” Clawson said. “I think he is one of the elite players not only in the ACC, but in the country. I respect the way he plays the quarterback position, and those comments in no way reflect the respect I have for him. I would never say that.”
We’ll probably never get the full truth here, but it’s going to be interesting to see how Jackson plays when the Cardinals and Demon Deacons get together in late October this season.
Last season, Wake Forest largely shut down Jackson, though Louisville did win easily, 44-12. This season, there’s a good chance Jackson shows Wake Forest exactly what he could do in the NFL when given the opportunity.