Not long ago, in fact almost a year ago to the day, on Dec. 28, Justin Jefferson was turning the Oklahoma defense into swiss cheese. En route to a 63-28 win over the Sooners in the Peach Bowl, Jefferson put up historic numbers for a College Football Playoff game, catching 14 passes for 227 yards and four touchdowns, most of which came in the first half.
Now, nearly a year later, Jefferson is torching NFL defenses on a weekly basis and on Tuesday was recognized for his performance. The rookie receiver was one of four former LSU players to be named to the 2020 pro bowl.
Joining Jefferson with the pro bowl honor will be Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams and Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White. For Mathieu, this will be his second appearance at the pro bowl, Adams' third straight time and White's second time.
But for Jefferson, this first one holds special meaning. He joins Amari Cooper and Randy Moss as the only 21-year-olds to make it to a pro bowl and is inching closer to Moss' rookie receiving yards record as well. His 73 receptions has already passed Moss and with 1,182 yards also recorded, Jefferson needs just 132 yards to surpass Moss, a feat he's accomplished three times this season already.
"It's definitely a big honor," he said, via the Pioneer Press. "I'm so happy that I'm honored to be on that list with the top guys in the NFL. Definitely a bright start, and looking now to finish my career and keep getting them."
Mathieu has been the anchor of the Kansas City defense since signing ahead of the 2019 season. He's recorded 61 tackles, nine passes defended and a career high six interceptions to help the Chiefs stay No. 1 in the AFC following their Super Bowl win.
Adams has been in and out of the lineup with injuries but when he's played, he's been a difference maker. In 10 games, Adams has consistently put pressure on the quarterback with 72 total tackles, 10 tackles for a loss and 9.5 sacks.
Now entering his fourth season, Adams just recently locked in a playoff berth for the first time after spending three seasons with the New York Jets.
"That’s a hell of a feeling man, I’m sorry, I’m not used to this, guys forgive me,” Adams said. “I know you guys are used to Seattle always going to the playoffs. I’m not used to this. I’m used to sending my cars home by this time and hey, I’m already packing up, learning where I’m going next. Where’s the vacation? When am I seeing family?"
White has been one of the more technically sound defensive backs in the NFL since entering the league in 2017. His strong play almost landed him Defensive Rookie of the Year, finishing second to Marshon Lattimore. In 2020, the captain of the Bills defense has done a little bit of everything, recording three interceptions and 11 passes defended.