24 Justin Jefferson Facts on His 24th Birthday
June 16th, 2023, is Justin Jefferson’s 24th birthday, and before turning 24 years old, the wide receiver has already cemented himself as one of the very best players in the NFL. With that, here are 24 Justin Jefferson facts that you may not have heard before.
- Jefferson attended Destrehan High School during his youth: Jefferson grew up in the small town of Destrehan, Louisiana, and in his formative years, he attended Destrehan High School. The town itself sits just east of the Mississippi River, and at the 2020 census, it had a population of 11,340.
- Jefferson was a three-star recruit out of high school: It’s a bit of a “rags to riches” story for Jefferson as his small high school in Louisiana did not get a ton of national attention. As a result, 24/7 Sports listed him as a three-star recruit.
- Two older brothers played football at LSU before Justin: We all know about Justin’s career at LSU by now, but he actually was the third Jefferson brother to go through the Tigers program. His oldest brother, Jordan, was a dual-threat quarterback that started from 2009-11 and helped lead a 13-0 regular season before falling in the BCS National Championship Game to Alabama. Meanwhile, Rickey Jefferson was a defensive back that started two of his four seasons from 2013-16 and recorded 4 interceptions during his career. Neither brother appeared in an NFL game.
- Jefferson appeared in just 28 snaps during his freshman season: Not only did the wide receiver play in only 28 offensive snaps during that 2017 season for LSU, he didn’t record a single catch during that year, either. The floodgates would open soon, though.
- Jefferson holds the single-season receptions record at LSU with 111 catches during 2019: The LSU receiver absolutely blew the doors off the program’s receptions record during 2019. Not only was he the first to 111 receptions, but he was also the first to 110 receptions as well as the first to 100 receptions. The previous record was held by Josh Reed, who caught 94 passes all the way back in 2001.
- Jefferson broke LSU’s single-season receiving TD record during 2019: Actually, three separate Tigers broke LSU’s single-season record for receiving TDs that year. The former record, held by Dwayne Bowe, who caught 12 scores in 2006, now sits in fourth-place as Ja’Marr Chase caught a ridiculous 20 TDs in 2019 while Jefferson caught 18, and Terrace Marshall Jr. had 13 of his own.
- LSU won their fourth official national title with Jefferson on the roster: Despite being one of the oldest college football programs in the country (beginning back in 1893), the LSU Tigers have had to wait long stretches between national championships. With a star-studded offense in 2019 that included Jefferson, though, LSU beat the brakes off everyone on their way to a 15-0 record and a national title. During that season, they outscored their opponents by an average of 26.5 points, including a 42-25 rout over Clemson in the CFP National Championship Game.
- Jefferson holds the record for most receptions in a two-game College Football Playoff: When the lights are at their brightest, Jefferson shines above all. This is true even going back to his final year at LSU. During the CFP run that resulted in a national title, Jefferson caught a total of 23 passes, which still stands as the most of any individual during a single CFP run.
- Only two players have more career receiving touchdowns at LSU than Jefferson: Both players in front of him actually had the advantage of playing a fourth year in the program as well. Jefferson put together 24 total touchdown receptions through his three years at LSU, but Dwayne Bowe and Brandon Lafell sit above him on the all-time record book with 26 and 25 scores, respectively. Bowe played from 2003-06 while Lafell was there from 2006-09. Chase and Marshall sit right behind Jefferson with 23 apiece.
- Jefferson was a direct result of the Stefon Diggs trade: In spring 2020, the Minnesota Vikings sent their star receiver Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills via trade after he had been unhappy with his situation in Minnesota. The Bills sent the Vikings a 2020 first-round pick that ended up being the 22nd overall pick in the draft, which Minnesota used to take their current star receiver. Talk about a win-win.
- Jefferson was the first LSU wide receiver to be selected in the first round since 2014: Nowadays, the LSU Tigers football program is considered something of a “wide receiver university” meaning they consistently pump out NFL talent at the position. Prior to 2020, it wasn’t always like that, though. Jefferson was the first receiver taken in the first round out of the program since Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014, and just the fifth LSU first-round receiver since 1997.
- Only three targets went to Jefferson in his NFL debut: It was actually the same story in his second NFL game too, but as many Vikings fans will remember, Jefferson was not a major piece of the Vikings offense during his first couple weeks with the team. Since then, though, he’s never been targeted fewer than four times, and more than half of his 50 career regular season games have included 10+ passes thrown his way.
- Jefferson’s 1400 receiving yards in 2020 was an NFL rookie record: Many Vikings fans assuredly remember this chase for history, but Jefferson eventually did break the NFL’s rookie receiving record by putting up a clean 1400 yards during his first season. This was especially remarkable considering how little of an impact he made during his first two NFL games, but his skill could not be denied moving forward. His former collegiate teammate, Chase, eventually set a new record in 2021, though, by putting up 1455 yards for the Cincinnati Bengals.
- Jefferson is the only NFL player with 3000+ yards through his first two seasons: After an outstanding rookie campaign, Jefferson followed it up with an equally impressive sophomore season of 1616 yards, meaning he became the first player to surpass 3000 receiving yards in his first two NFL seasons. The next closest is OBJ, who put together 2755 yards in his first two years.
- Jefferson holds the Vikings record for most receiving yards in a first half: The 2022 regular season got started with a bang as Jefferson caught six passes that went for 158 yards against the Green Bay Packers during their Week 1 showdown. But that was just in the first half. It set a new franchise record that likely will stand for quite some time, unless he breaks it again.
- Jefferson holds the Vikings record for most receiving yards in a game: Unfortunately, this record did not come in a victory, but Jefferson did just about everything he could to carry Minnesota against the Detroit Lions in Week 14. He broke Sammy White’s single-game franchise record of 210 receiving yards by putting up 223 yards in a 34-23 loss to the Lions.
- Jefferson holds the Vikings record for most receiving yards in a season: After coming just short in 2021 of Randy Moss’ franchise record of 1635 yards set back in 2003, Jefferson blew past in 2022 by putting together 1809 yards. His record also means he is the first player with multiple 1500-yard seasons in franchise history.
- Jefferson is the third Offensive Player of the Year in Minnesota Vikings franchise history: The Minnesota Vikings have had a number of star players go through their franchise over the course of its history, but until Jefferson won the Offensive Player of the Year award in 2022, only two other Vikings had won it: Fran Tarkenton in 1975 and Adrian Peterson in 2012.
- Jefferson was the youngest player in NFL history to lead the league in receptions and receiving yards: Jefferson’s 2022 season didn’t quite hit that threshold of 2000 receiving yards, but he did make NFL history. By catching 128 passes and amassing 1809 receiving yards, the 23-year-old became the youngest player to lead the NFL in both categories since Don Hutson did so for the Green Bay Packers back in 1936.
- Jefferson has more 100-yard receiving games through three NFL seasons than any other player in NFL history: It’s not particularly close, either. Jefferson has amassed 24 games of 100+ receiving yards during the first three years of his career. Behind him, another former Vikings receiver, Randy Moss, totaled 19 such games through his first three years. Odell Beckham Jr. tied Moss’ former record as well.
- Jefferson needs 687 yards to break the four-year NFL receiving record: Essentially, if Justin Jefferson keeps up his usual productivity in the fourth year of his career, he will have recorded more yards than any other four-year career by about Week 7. Currently, Michael Thomas holds the record for most yards for a four-year player at 5512. Jefferson is in sixth-place before his season even begins at a career 4825 yards.
- Jefferson will make just $2,399,473 in 2023: Consider this to be the steal of all steals. 2023 is the final year where the Vikings will truly get to take advantage of having one of the best players in the entire league on a contract that is miniscule compared to his impact. He is the 81st-highest paid receiver in the league after winning the Offensive Player of the Year in 2022, but you won’t hear him complain about it once.
- The Vikings are 14-5 in games where Jefferson catches 8+ passes: The key to success in Minnesota has been simple throughout Jefferson’s early career: get him the ball and let him go to work. The Vikings have found great success, even in their less successful seasons, when he touches the ball on a regular basis. He recorded seven catches in the Wild Card loss against the New York Giants this past year. Perhaps if a certain pass at the end of that game had gone to him rather than T.J. Hockenson, the Vikings would be 15-5 in these games.
- With 1500+ receiving yards in 2023, Jefferson will become the first player in NFL history to do so in three consecutive seasons: Because he has put up 1616 and 1809 yards over the past two seasons, Jefferson has a chance to record 1500+ receiving yards in three straight years. By doing so, he would be the first player in NFL history with such a streak. Davante Adams of the Las Vegas Raiders also has a chance to put this same streak together after recording 1553 yards and 1514 yards in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.