When the Pittsburgh Steelers selected JuJu Smith-Schuster with their second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, it might have come as a surprise to some fans, but for the wide receiver from USC, it was perhaps later than he expected to go.
Speaking to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports for an interview published on Tuesday, Smith-Schuster talked about the perceptions surrounding his maturity and how he believes it impacted his draft status.
“When I got drafted, one of the main reasons why I dropped was because of my age. ‘Oh, he’s not mature. He’s not ready.’ But to his day I always stay true to myself and be myself with the guys here, and I’m always having fun with everything I do, especially because I love playing football.”
Unfazed by what others think of him, he has no intention of changing, regardless of the advice some have given him .
“There have been a few people who have said do this or do that, and I’ve turned the other cheek, and I don’t really pay attention to them, just because I got here because of myself and what I’ve done, and I’m gonna ride with that.”
Given his meteoric rise to fame, it’s clear Smith-Schuster was right to ignore those voices telling him to change his ways. Fans should expect to see even more of the young wide receiver on social media and platforms like YouTube and Twitch in the future.
Having recently signed an endorsement deal worth a reported six-figures with Esports company HyperX, Smith-Schuster is already earning more away from football than many of his teammates, and the young wideout appears to be far more accomplished than some of the bigger names on the roster at developing and monetizing his brand. That’s an indication several teams misunderstood how mature the former USC product really is in some aspects of his life.
Ultimately, Steelers fans should be grateful that so many teams in the league underestimated how well JuJu would adjust to life in the NFL at such a young age and enjoy the fact that Smith-Schuster might be a Pittsburgh Steeler for a very long time considering he’s still only 21 years old.