Facts that you may not have known about the early years, college career and personal life of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
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Lamar Jackson has made quite a name for himself as the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens.
Since being drafted by Baltimore in the 2018 NFL Draft, Jackson has taken the NFL by storm. At only 25 years old, he figures to be a top NFL quarterback for years to come.
But it’s only one chapter in his story! Here are eight things you didn’t know about Lamar Jackson.
1. Lamar Jackson is the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy
When Jackson won the award given annually to the most outstanding player in college football, he was exactly 19 years and 337 days old. That made him the youngest Heisman Trophy winner in history.
Fellow NFL quarterbacks DeShaun Watson (Clemson) and Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) finished second and third behind Jackson, then quarterback for the Louisville Cardinals.
While Lamar Jackson won comfortably, it’s a wonder the race was close at all. As only a sophomore, Jackson accounted for the second-most total yards in history (4,928) for a Heisman winner during the 2016 season.
2. Lamar Jackson ALMOST went to the University of Florida
Coming out of Boynton Beach High School in Florida, Jackson’s college recruitment was a hectic one.
Recruitment services didn’t agree on his long-term potential and gave him a modest (for a player of his caliber) three-star rating.
Jackson visited only four schools (Louisville, Florida, Nebraska, and Mississippi State) and was expected to sign with the home state Florida Gators.
But Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino personally promised Jackson’s mother Felicia that her son would play quarterback and no other position on his team. The rest is history.
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3. He has many business ventures that you probably don’t know about
What you will find on Lamar Jackson’s Instagram account (@Lj_era8) are several references to his various business ventures and charitable causes he supports. His handle is a reference to both the “new era” of NFL football symbolized by his dual-threat abilities, as well as his sportswear line, Era 8 Apparel.
He’s also the new owner of Play Action Soulfood in Pompano Beach, FL. Who’s hungry?
4. Lamar Jackson unofficially holds the fastest 40-yard dash time for a quarterback in NFL history
Even after winning the Heisman Trophy and numerous other accolades at Louisville, some scouts weren’t convinced Lamar Jackson had the accuracy to make it as a quarterback in the NFL.
But Jackson felt so strongly about remaining a quarterback that despite a recorded time of 4.34 in the 40-yard dash, he declined to run at the NFL Scouting Combine in order to focus on his passing skills. Had he run and matched his previous time, it would have been the fastest 40-yard dash time for an NFL quarterback.
5. Lamar Jackson was only the 32nd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He was also selected after one of his Louisville teammates!
The Buffalo Bills are probably quite happy with their decision to take Josh Allen despite Lamar Jackson still being available.
But quarterbacks such as Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and Josh Rosen went ahead of Jackson. These are decisions that those teams would live to regret.
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Finally, the Baltimore Ravens traded back into the first round with the Philadelphia Eagles to take Jackson with the 32nd pick. Not only was he the fifth quarterback selected, he was only the second Louisville Cardinal selected, after cornerback Jaire Alexander went to the Green Bay Packers with the 17th pick!
6. Jaime Taylor is Lamar Jackson’s girlfriend
Lamar Jackson’s girlfriend is Jaime Taylor. The couple has been together for several years, having met during their time at the University of Louisville.
Unlike many NFL quarterbacks, Jackson and Taylor choose to keep details about their relationship rather private. You won’t find a lot of pictures of Jaime Taylor on Lamar’s social media accounts or see her featured on TV broadcasts of Baltimore Ravens games.
Family is very important to Lamar, whose mother and siblings live with him in Owings Mills, MD. This is only a short drive from the Ravens’ practice facility. Lamar lost his father at a young age, and his mother Felicia raised he and his siblings.
7. Lamar Jackson’s 2019 MVP season put him among rare company
At the end of the 2019 NFL season, the doubters had disappeared. Lamar Jackson was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, becoming only the second player to win the award unanimously after Tom Brady in 2010. He was only 22 years old.
In fact, Jackson was the second-youngest MVP in league history, trailing only legendary running back Jim Brown.
Jackson also joined Joe Theismann and Cam Newton as the only quarterbacks to win both the Heisman Trophy and the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award.
8. Charity is extremely important to Baltimore’s QB
Perhaps Lamar Jackson’s most inspiring off-the-field interest is his charitable work. His work with Blessings in a Backpack, a Louisville non-profit that ensures kids who eat school lunches through federally funded programs have enough to eat during non-school hours, became one of the feel-good stories of the 2020 season.
Buffalo Bills fans (known as Bills Mafia) flooded the cause with over $360,000 in donations after Jackson was injured during a divisional playoff loss to Buffalo.
Recently, a video of Lamar greeting a 10-year-old fan from Mississippi went viral. Landon Berry, who battles hypoplastic left heart syndrome, identified Jackson as his favorite NFL player. He had the opportunity to meet Jackson face-to-face in New Orleans before the Ravens played the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.
You can see the video here.
9. Lamar Jackson isn’t just breaking records – he’s creating new records!
We discussed Jackson being the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy. Two years later, he became the youngest quarterback to start an NFL playoff game, taking the field one day before his 22nd birthday.
Breaking records is one thing – setting new marks is a different level! Here is just a partial list of Lamar Jackson’s accomplishments that no other NFL player has achieved:
- First player to pass for 250 yards and rush for 120 yards in a single game
- Only quarterback to rush for 60 or more yards in seven consecutive games
- First quarterback with four 100-yard rushing games in a season
- Only player to throw for 300+ yards and rush for 100+ yards in a playoff game