I still remember the time that I broke down the signing of John Smith to USC out of Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Those days seem like such a long, long time ago, yet JuJu Smith-Schuster is still not yet 25 years old.
PFF recently put out a story featuring the ‘top 25 players under 25 years of age’ and Smith-Schuster, along with former teammate Adoree Jackson, found their way on the list.
JuJu cracked the list at No. 25, with the writeup reading:
It’s easy to get dispirited with Smith-Schuster after the 2019 season, attributing all his struggles in his third season to the fact that Antonio Brown wasn’t there to draw away attention. That could certainly be part of it, but the truth is there were other contributing factors — from injury to brutal quarterback play on the least efficient offense in the NFL — that also played a role. The percentage of accurate passes he received dropped from 61.4% in 2017 and 2018 to 50.8% in 2019. Next year is a big year for JuJu to prove last season was an aberration, but we’re going to give him the benefit of the doubt after two strong seasons to open his career. On a side note, the fact that he won’t even be 24 to start his fourth NFL season is absurd.
Adoree Jackson cracked the list at No. 19, a far cry from some considering he was not even going to be given the fifth-year team option by the Tennessee Titans. PFF’s Ben Linsey writes:
Jackson doesn’t get enough appreciation for how solid he’s been to start his NFL career. He’s put up three consecutive seasons with overall grades of 73.0 or higher on 750 or more defensive snaps, and that culminated in an 82.5 coverage grade this past season that ranked sixth among qualifying cornerbacks. He’s been tested deep a fair amount since 2017, but Jackson’s speed means that he rarely gets beaten over the top. On passes that were thrown 20 or more yards downfield, Jackson has allowed just 12 of his 48 targets to be completed, with 22 forced incompletions mixed in.
Jackson is a rock-solid cornerback and Smith-Schuster is as talented as they come on the field (and at Fortnite, apparently).
Either way, it’s great recognition for some solid USC alum and great pros. Keep it up, boys!