Ever since becoming the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson says he has not enjoyed a fulfilling night of sleep.
Whether it was traveling state to state and living out of a suitcase on a daily basis during a grueling awards tour and national media circuit or having to change his cellphone number after a fan got hold of it, Jackson insists he has enjoyed the moment after winning college football's most coveted individual award.
"It's an honor and a blessing. I'm happy I have it," Jackson said of the Heisman during the ACC Kickoff.
"Growing up, playing the NCAA 1/8Football3/8 video game, the road to glory and your player winning 1/8the Heisman3/8. You're like, 'What if that happened to me one day?' And for it to actually happen, it's crazy.
"I know I said that a lot during the speech, 'it's crazy.' It's still crazy sometimes to me."
Jackson recorded than 5,100 yards of total offense and 51 touchdowns, overwhelmingly winning the award over Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and a crowded field of finalists.
The Heisman hype train started to roll off the tracks after Jackson accounted for five touchdowns during a 63-20 shellacking of Florida State in Week 3. It got to the point where Jackson could not avoid hearing about it from others or even while watching TV.
"I just felt like we were more ready than them that game," Jackson said of the blowout over the Seminoles. "That's a great defense. Nobody else did that. That's a great defense. We just outplayed them that game."
Louisville was on the brink of an Atlantic Division title before falling at Clemson in the final seconds in one of the most entertaining games of the season in early October. Despite an 8-1 start, the Cardinals ended the season on a three-game skid that saw Jackson get sacked 22 times during the stretch.
Maybe the sour note to end the season had a lingering effect on preseason buzz surrounding Jackson and Louisville heading into 2017.
In May, Jackson was listed behind USC quarterback Sam Darnold and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield in a list of Las Vegas oddsmakers' favorites to win the 2017 Heisman Trophy.
Jackson's odds, according to William Hill US Race & Sports Book, slightly improved to 8-1 this week, jumping ahead of Mayfield (10) but still trailing Darnold (9-2).
Sports illustrated even ranked Jackson as the third-best player in college football last month, behind Mayfield at No. 2 and Florida State standout safety Derwin James, who played only one full game last season.
Maybe the lower expectations are advantageous for Jackson, who joined Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, Mark Ingram, Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston as the sixth redshirt freshman or sophomore to win the Heisman since 2007.
"I love the game of football," Jackson said. "I didn't think I'd win the Heisman Trophy 1/8last season3/8. It just happened. I just played football. That's what I'm trying to do this year. I'm trying to win games, and win a national championship. That's the biggest thing to me."
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, who coached Winston for two seasons, believes Jackson will be able to handle the Heisman hype again as a junior.
"It's tough because people put so many expectations and they put so much clutter in your mind," Fisher said. "There are so many different things you have to do now, and so many responsibilities. You have to remember to go back and play ball, and I'm sure he'll do that because he's a very dynamic player."
Jackson has worked this offseason to incorporate playing quarterback under center along with the shotgun formations he did most of his damage out of last season in hopes of fine-tuning his game for the NFL despite critics who say he may be better suited to play receiver at the next level.
His focus is also not centered on becoming a two-time Heisman winner despite getting some advice at last year's Heisman ceremony from former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin, the only player in college football history to achieve the feat.
"He didn't tease me at all," Jackson said of the interaction with Griffin. "He just told me that I have to work harder this year because they're going to be coming after me."