Compton Jordan Lakewood LB In NFL Long Beach Poly Millikan Wilson

LB In The NFL: DeSean Jackson, JuJu Smith-Schuster Have Huge Debuts

The opening weekend of the NFL season was yet another piece of proof that no city can turn out offensive playmakers like Long Beach. It’s well known that Poly has produced more NFL players than any other high school, but the Jackrabbits have also in particular produced more receivers and defensive backs than any other school, and their wideouts were going crazy on Sunday.

DeSean Jackson had an unproductive season last year with the Buccaneers, scoring just three touchdowns. On Sunday, the 31-year old Jackson had five catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Saints. Jackson is now tied for second all-time in 50+ yard touchdown catches with 27, and sits at 9,633 total yards in his career, just outside of the top 50 all-time.

Jackson, in his 11th NFL season, did miss the end of the game after sustaining a concussion.

While Jackson is now the savvy veteran, Poly had another alum in the top 10 in the NFL in receiving yards this week with JuJu Smith-Schuster exploding for the Steelers with five catches for 119 yards. The first game of his second season put Smith-Schuster over 1,000 career receiving yards, making him the youngest ever to hit that mark.

Poly alums Jurrell Casey and Jayon Brown were two of the Titans’ seven leading tacklers in a game that ended up being the longest in NFL history thanks to multiple lightning delays. The Titans fell to the Dolphins despite 10 tackles from Casey and Brown, including three tackles for a loss by Casey.

Marcedes Lewis was part of the Packers’ thrilling Sunday night win over the Bears, which was the largest fourth-quarter comeback in Green Bay history. Lewis didn’t record a catch but isn’t likely to do much of that this year, as he was brought in specifically as a run blocker, something he excelled at Sunday.

Lewis had the quote of the week after watching teammate Aaron Rodgers lead the Packers to the historic win: “I ain’t never seen nothing like that.”

Jamize Olawale’s Cowboys fell in a 16-8 stinker to the Panthers, and Kaelin Clay’s debut with the Giants didn’t go well, as he fumbled a punt return in New York’s loss to the Jaguars.


Bruins alum Joel Bitonio has been laboring away in Cleveland for the Browns, as part of a franchise that went 0-16 last year. This season is already off to a better start, as Cleveland tied the Steelers, 21-21. The 0-0-1 start actually marks the Browns’ best start to a season in more than a decade. Because the Browns led most of the game, Bitonio admitted that his team took no solace in the result.

“It feels like a loss,” he said.


Panthers alum John Ross got his first career touchdown catch on Sunday, part of a 34-23 Bengals win over the Colts. Ross only had the one catch for a three-yard score but already bettered his frustrating rookie campaign.


Lancers alum Matt Pryor didn’t get a chance to play for the Eagles in the first game of the season, an 18-12 win. Pryor, a rookie offensive lineman, was listed as inactive for the game.


Tarbabes alum Datone Jones is on the injured reserve list for the Cowboys.

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.