Long Beach Poly alum JuJu Smith-Schuster got great news Monday afternoon, as the 22 year-old has been named to this year’s NFL Pro Bowl. The Steelers wide receiver was the top Pro Bowl alternate and steps into a space vacated by his Pittsburgh teammate Antonio Brown, who is sitting out due to injury.
“What a blessing!” Smith-Schuster tweeted after the news broke. “To think how far I’ve come from where I started…Dreamed about playing in this game, and it’s a huge honor to be recognized in this way, thank you!”
Smith-Schuster is in his second year and was top five in the NFL in both catches (111) and yards (1,426). He joins fellow Poly alum Jurrell Casey in the all-star game, making it just the second time ever that two Long Beach products will play in the same Pro Bowl (DeSean Jackson and Marcedes Lewis were both in the 2010 Pro Bowl).
Smith-Schuster is the ninth Poly alum to make it to the Pro Bowl out of more than 60 alums who’ve played in the NFL, and he and Casey will be making the 21st and 22nd appearance by a Poly alum in the game.
Wilson alum Joel Bitonio, a Pro Bowl alternate, is still waiting to see if he gets in from an injury or a withdrawal. Bitonio received a major honor himself on Monday, being named to AP All-Pro second team. Additionally, Pro Football Focus named him one of the top five offensive guards in the NFL by their rating system, further underlining his Pro Bowl caliber.