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Louisville’s Lamar Jackson declares for NFL Draft

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson high-fived fans as he leaves the field after the Cardinals defeated Kentucky on Nov. 25. Jackson, a junior, announced Thursday that he will enter the 2018 NFL Draft.
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson high-fived fans as he leaves the field after the Cardinals defeated Kentucky on Nov. 25. Jackson, a junior, announced Thursday that he will enter the 2018 NFL Draft.

University of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson announced Friday that he is entering the 2018 NFL Draft.

In a Twitter post, the 6-foot-3 junior thanked the school, head coach Bobby Petrino, the rest of the coaching staff, his teammates and fans for his years spent at Louisville.

“It has been nothing short of an honor to be a member of #CardsNation and to play for this university. No matter what the future holds, one thing remains true: #GoCards!” Jackson said in his Twitter post.

Jackson erupted on the scene in a Heisman trophy-winning season in 2016, when he threw for 3,543 yards, ran for 1,571 yards and combined for 51 touchdowns. He won the Lexington Herald-Leader Kentucky Sports Figure of the Year award in the largest margin of victory in the 36-year history of the award.

He was a Heisman finalist in 2017 as a junior, throwing for 3,660 yards with 1,601 rushing yards and 45 total touchdowns.

Jackson will leave Louisville as the program leader in total offense (13,175 yards) and total touchdowns (119). Despite playing quarterback, he also set school records for rushing yards (4,132) and rushing touchdowns (50).

ESPN.com NFL Draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay both rank Jackson as the No. 7 quarterback for the 2018 NFL Draft.

Kiper Jr. said teams might ask Jackson to work out as both a quarterback and a receiver. McShay said Jackson needs to improve his accuracy as a passer.

“Right now, he’s a phenomenal college quarterback mostly due to his running skills and athleticism,” McShay said.

Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, quarterback for the University of Louisville, accepted the Lexington Herald-Leader's 2016 Kentucky Sports Figure of the Year award at Wednesday night’s 2017 Bluegrass Sports Awards banquet in Lexington.

After winning the Herald-Leader's Sports Figure of the Year award at the Bluegrass Sports Award Banquet on Wednesday night, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson talked about his relationship with UK assistant coach Lamar Thomas, who recruited him

Mike Stunson: 859-231-1324, @mike_stunson

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