LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- From his dazzling feats of athleticism to his touchdown heroics on the gridiron, Lamar Jackson has made a name for himself in his three years at the University of Louisville.
"I've been going to UofL games for almost 40 years and I've got to say this is certainly the most exciting player I've seen," Greater Louisville Inc. President and CEO Kent Oyler said. "He is amazing and he's right up there. You think of Louisville legends - you've got Johnny Unitas, Darrell Griffith and now you can add Lamar Jackson."
But it isn't just what he did on the field that will be missed, with Louisville's star quarterback announcing Friday his decision to leave the school to chase his NFL dreams. Leaving with Jackson will also be the brand that the Heisman winner brought to the city.
"Every time they're talking about the Heisman Trophy or any other quarterback that was playing, they always had to bring Lamar and Louisville into the picture," Oyler said. "So those mentions all add up and it was very positive for Louisville."
Each time Louisville is mentioned, it shines a national spotlight on the city. Oyler said while the monetary value of Jackson's impact is hard to determine, there are clear signs of growth in the city that go beyond just the number of seats filled at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
"It helps in terms of talent attraction," he said. "It helps in terms of tourism, people are thinking about where to go and they hear Louisville and they may pay attention to that. Business-wise, it helps for business attraction. It's keeping us top of mind. So it is convenient the school name and the city name are the same."
As Jackson bids farewell to Louisville, fans thank him for everything he has done, both on the field and off.
"I think Lamar's attitude and his very positive, team-oriented attitude was really, really good," Oyler said. "UofL has gone through some difficult times now. He was a bright light. Hopefully we're through that and we can go on."
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