LSU Gold

Jefferson Wins NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award

by Michael Bonnette
Tigers in the NFL +0
Jefferson Wins NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award

BATON ROUGE – Former LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson had his name added to an exclusive list on Thursday night as the Vikings standout was named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year.

Jefferson beat out Super Bowl quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts to win the award.

Jefferson, who helped LSU to a 15-0 mark and the national title in 2019, joins quarterback Bert Jones as LSU’s winners of the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award. Voted on by a panel of Associated Press writers, Jones earned the honor in 1976 as quarterback of the Baltimore Colts.

The NFL held its annual awards show on Thursday in Phoenix as the league handed out 18 honors during the event. Last year, former Tiger Andrew Whitworth was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year at the show.

In 2022, Jefferson enjoyed his best season as a professional, leading the NFL in receptions (128) and receiving yards (1,809). He caught eight touchdown passes and also scored one rushing TD.

Jefferson had a record-setting season in his third year in the NFL, breaking Minnesota records for receiving yards and receptions. His 1,802 receiving yards broke the previous mark of 1,632 set by Randy Moss in 2003, while his 128 receptions eclipsed Cris Carter’s 122 catches in 1994 and 1995.

He also set the franchise record for single-game receiving yards with 223 on 11 catches against Detroit in week 14.

Jefferson capped the 17-game NFL regular-season with at least 100 yards receiving in 10 contests, which includes his Vikings record 223 against the Lions. He added six games with double-digit receptions with his season-high of 12 coming three times – vs. the Giants, the Colts and the Bears.

Perhaps one of his finest moments in 2022 came in an overtime win over Buffalo when he made a spectacular one-handed grab on fourth-and-18 to extend a Vikings drive. Jefferson wrestled the ball away from Bills defender Cam Lewis on the way to the ground as the catch has been called one of the greatest of all-time. His arm sleeves and gloves from that game are now on display in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A first round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Jefferson capped his three-year LSU career with 165 receptions for 2,415 yards and 24 touchdowns. As a junior in 2019, Jefferson set the LSU record for receptions in a season, surpassing Josh Reed’s previous mark of 94 set in 2001. His 1,540 receiving yards in 2019 rank as the third-highest total in school history, while his 18 touchdowns stand at No. 2.

Jefferson saved his best LSU performances for the biggest stage as he caught four TD passes – all in the first half – to go along with 14 receptions and 227 yards in the win over Oklahoma in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs in 2019. Jefferson holds CFP records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns in a playoff game.

He followed that with nine catches for 106 yards in LSU’s national championship win over Clemson.