When JuJu Smith-Schuster isn’t catching touchdowns for the Pittsburgh Steelers, he is still finding ways to score points off the field as well. The third-year wide receiver has done a remarkable job of winning over fans, not just of the Steelers, but of football more broadly speaking, and even beyond.
That hard-earned social cache hasn’t come just through his gregarious, effervescent personality and his upbeat mannerisms, but also through the many good deeds in which he has participated since he has entered the league, and still at the age of just 22.
We have already talked about the fact that he has a charitable foundation that has gotten underway this offseason, for example. This will become the primary avenue through which he gives back to his community, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing so in a number of different ways through his first two years in Pittsburgh already.
This offseason, the NFL also gave him the opportunity to expand his reach even further by inviting him to be an ambassador for their new initiative across the pond, the NFL Academy. The Academy is a school in which young men aged 16 to 18 will work on their football skills as well as life skills, with the possibility of earning a scholarship with an American university.
“When they told me about this, I accepted right away”, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN quoted Smith-Schuster as saying in an article about the wide receiver’s involvement with the NFL Academy. “Giving back to the community, especially the young kids out here starting American football and teaching them at the NFL Academy and what it’s all about and being a part of it, it’s amazing”.
Smith-Schuster has dedicated most of his first two seasons in the NFL establishing himself in the league, and has done that with great success. Following a season in which he earned Pro Bowl recognition and put up 111 receptions for 1426 yards and seven touchdowns, he is now entering the 2019 season as the Steelers’ number one receiver.
As his professional life settles into more of a groove, however, he is looking to find more opportunities to give back, something for which he should be commended. The young man is more than just a big personality. He also has a big heart.
“I want [the students of the Academy] to see a guy who is super authentic, pretty much who gives back to the community and can help out a lot”, he said. “To be out here with the kids and show them I care so much. They want to learn. I am able to show them I care about them and American football”.