Jackson to join Unitas as Louisville to retire No. 8

NCAAF

Louisville will retire Lamar Jackson‘s No. 8 jersey in a ceremony against Syracuse on Nov. 13, the school announced Saturday.

Jackson joins Johnny Unitas as the only other player in school history to have his number retired. Louisville retired Unitas’ No. 16 in 2003.

The school surprised the current Ravens quarterback with a video announcement, as he prepared to do media interviews in Baltimore.

“I feel like I won a Heisman again,” Jackson said in the video.

Jackson became the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy in 2016 at 19 years, 337 days after a remarkable season in which he had 4,928 yards of offense. That ranks second in Heisman history behind BYU’s Ty Detmer (5,022 in 1990).

He also is the first player to win the Heisman with at least 30 touchdown passes and at least 21 rushing touchdowns, and his 1,538 rushing yards are the most by a Heisman winning quarterback.

Jackson made his most iconic play that season — the “Lamar Leap” — when he hurdled a Syracuse defender in a 62-28 victory — a move that firmly planted him in the mind of Heisman voters.

“Lamar earned the Heisman and then the NFL MVP, and he’s not even 25 years old. Even more remarkable, he’s only getting better,” Louisville athletics director Vince Tyra said in a statement. “His humble heart and grounded approach endears him to his teammates, his coaches and any staff he’s ever been around. He knows it takes eleven to be successful on offense, not one. We’re so proud to retire his number 8 for what he has accomplished so far but are equally excited about what’s to come.”

In addition to winning the Heisman, Jackson set or tied 42 school single-game, season and career records during his three years in Louisville — and holds seven ACC records. He remains the only player in FBS history to rush for at least 1,500 yards and pass for at least 3,500 yards in a season — and he did it in both 2016 and 2017. He finished third in the Heisman voting in 2017.

Jackson is expected to attend the ceremony in Louisville, as the Ravens have a Thursday night game against the Miami Dolphins that week. The Ravens drafted Jackson No. 32 overall in 2018, and won league MVP honors in 2019.

“We couldn’t ask for a better representative of our football program. Lamar’s influence goes far beyond our campus — he’s got this entire city behind him every day and we can’t wait to welcome him home,” Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said in a statement.

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