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Ja’Marr Chase Profile
Following a record-breaking debut season in the NFL in 2021, Ja’Marr Chase became a household name in Cincinnati as he was a star performer in the Bengals’ run to the Super Bowl. The wide receiver is speedy and agile, and his initial performances in the NFL saw records tumble throughout his first season as a professional.
Here, we take a look at Ja’Marr Chase’s rise to NFL stardom and trace the origins of his career, beginning in suburban New Orleans, where he made a name for himself as an exceptional high school wide receiver before LSU came calling.
Early promise at Rummell
Born on March 1, 2000, in Harvey, Louisiana, Ja’Marr Chase was destined for the top when he showcased his talents at high school in suburban New Orleans. Before making a name for himself with his athletic prowess at school, Chase played football, baseball, and basketball at Oakdale Playground in Gretna, close to his childhood home.
Sport runs in the Chase family, as Ja’Marr’s father - Jimmy - played as a defensive back at St Augustine. He was a member of their Championship winning team in 1979 before representing Alcorn State at the college level. Ja’Marr has a close relationship with his father, who has helped him through the transitional phases of his career to date.
As a youngster, Chase attended Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, Louisiana, and had 115 receptions for 2,152 yards and 30 touchdowns in his high school career. The 30 touchdowns remain a Rummel record to this day.
His first high school touchdown came in a game against Wayne County in Mississippi - a game that ESPN televised. It’s a moment that Chase looks back fondly upon, even though a serious knee injury prematurely brought his debut high school season to a close.
Ja’Marr was well-liked by his high school teammates and was known as a fierce competitor, ready to be the difference-maker in all situations. Despite the success that awaited Chase after high school, he kept his feet firmly on the ground and was known to be humble as he attended Rummel High School alongside his childhood friends. Even when he became known as a five-star recruit and was being compared to the likes of Jarvis Landry, Chase didn’t let the attention get to him.
Coaches from all over the country came to watch Chase while he was at Rummel, and he had scholarship offers from various colleges. Although he initially harbored ambitions of attending Ole Miss, he narrowed his options to Auburn and LSU, eventually opting for the latter. Some speculate that Chase opted to steer clear of Ole Miss following the investigation into the Rebels that led to the resignation of Hugh Freeze and sanctions being brought against the program.
Award-winning contributions at LSU
Following his high school graduation, Chase committed to Louisiana State University to play college football for the Tigers. Ja’Marr’s father admitted that LSU’s intensive, all-in approach to recruitment was what swayed Chase to sign for LSU ahead of Auburn. In fact, in order to persuade Ja’Marr to choose LSU over Auburn, the entire staff appeared at Jimmy’s door to speak with Ja’Marr directly.
Ed Orgeron and nine LSU assistant coaches managed to convince Ja’Marr that his future lay at LSU, and it’s an effort that they must be delighted to have made. In his freshman year in 2018, Chase played in all 13 matches for the Tigers, registering seven starts. He posted figures of 23 receptions for 313 yards and three touchdowns in his first college season and impressed fans and coaches alike from the outset.
While his freshman year offered a glimpse into what was to come, Chase’s second season with the Tigers drew national attention. By the end of 2019, he led the NCAA Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in receiving yards with 1,780 yards on 84 catches and receiving touchdowns. What’s more, his 20 touchdowns set a Southeastern Conference record at the time, although Devonta Smith went on to break it in the 2020 season.
2019 was a huge year for Chase, as he eclipsed the 100-yard mark on six occasions. He also eclipsed the 200-yard mark on three separate occasions, recording a College Football Playoff Championship game record of 221 yards against Clemson. His outstanding second season in college football led to the Fred Biletnikoff Award, recognizing Chase as the best receiver in college football. Chase became the second LSU wide receiver to win the award, joining 2001 winner Josh Reed.
In fairness to the rest of the guys in the LSU squad, Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Justin Jefferson contributed significantly to Chase’s impressive season. The group became the first-ever SEC team to have a 4,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher, and two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season, highlighting just how strong LSU’s lineup was in 2019. It was little surprise then that Chase and Burrow were featured in the 2019 All-American team, bringing a perfect season for Chase to an end. Chase’s on-the-field relationship with Burrow would be reignited on the grandest stage in the not-so-distant future as the pair signed their first pro contracts in Ohio - more on this shortly.
At the time, Chase made the somewhat surprising decision to opt against a third season with LSU, choosing to focus on his professional career. This was a huge blow to the Tigers playing and coaching staff, as Chase was their star player. Although he left collegiate ball during the Covid-19 pandemic, his reason for doing so was largely influenced by his agents, who convinced him to take the season out to prevent injury. His agents also assured him that should he maintain his fitness, he would be a top draft pick before the start of the following season.
With hindsight, Chase’s decision was smart, as he soon went on to have one of the most explosive debut seasons in NFL history.
Explosive arrival in the NFL
His premature departure from college football was more than justified when Chase was drafted fifth overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2021 NFL Draft. Signing for the Bengals saw Chase reunite with Joe Burrow, a partnership that excited fans due to the incredible relationship the two had forged during their time at LSU.
Chase was drafted to play alongside Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins while replacing the outgoing AJ Green, who ended up at the Arizona Cardinals.
Ja’Marr made history before a ball was kicked in 2019, becoming the first player in franchise history to wear the number one jersey - the number he wore at LSU. After being picked by the Bengals, Chase signed a rookie four-year contract worth $30.8 million.
His debut for the Bengals came on September 12, 2021, when he lined up against the Minnesota Vikings. He finished the game with a TD and 101 receiving yards, as the Bengals won the game 27-24 in overtime. His first month in the NFL was record-breaking, as he became the youngest player in NFL history to catch four touchdown passes in his first three games. This led to the Rookie of the Month Award being given to Chase in September 2021 - his first full month in the NFL.
In October, Ja’Marr continued his incredible start to life in the NFL and put in several eye-catching displays. His performance against the Baltimore Ravens was particularly noteworthy, as he exploded for eight catches for 201 yards, making a mockery of the Ravens’ game plan to tighten up against him. He slipped a few tackles in the third quarter and raced 82 yards for a TD, capping off an incredible display that led the Bengals to a memorable 41-17 victory.
Chase’s impeccable start to life in the NFL saw yet another record tumble, as he recorded 754 receiving yards in his first seven games - the most receiving yards ever in NFL history. By the end of 2021, Chase was announced as a selection for the 2022 Pro Bowl, but it wasn’t the pinnacle of his first season in a Bengals jersey.
In the Bengals Wild Card game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Chase helped the Bengals secure their first playoff victory since 1990, carding nine receptions for 116 receiving yards. He also starred in the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs, catching six passes for 54 yards and scoring a TD in the Bengals’ overtime win. Although the Bengals were unable to win Super Bowl LVI, Chase’s 368 postseason receiving yards set a rookie record, eclipsing Torry Holt’s 242 in 1999. Yet another record broken.
The records keep tumbling
Ja’Marr Chase’s debut season in the NFL was nothing short of remarkable, and he smashed several records in his first season as a pro. In 2021, Chase’s achievements included:
Most receiving yards in the NFL postseason by a rookie - 1823 yards.
Youngest NFL player with several 100-yard receiving games in a postseason.
Most receiving yards in a game by a rookie - 266 yards.
Most receiving yards in a postseason by a rookie - 368 yards.
He also became the record holder for the most receiving yards in a season for the Bengals, finishing his debut season with 1455 yards to his name. In a January game against the Kansas City Chiefs, his 266 receiving yards became a Bengals franchise record, ensuring that he would write his name into Bengals folklore for a long time to come.
As many expected, Chase made an electrifying start to the 2022 season, although he picked up a hip injury that ruled him out of several games at the beginning of the season.
Despite his record-breaking arrival in the NFL, video game developers EA caused a storm when they released Madden 23, excluding Chase from the top 15 list of wide receivers, giving him a rating of just 87. Of course, it’s only a game, but fans of the Bengals couldn’t believe the snub, and Chase himself Tweeted that he would use his ranking as motivation to cement his place in the top ten on future releases.
Ja’Marr Chase profile: Recap
Bengals’ wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase had done enough in his first season in Cincinnati to earn iconic status among Bengals fans. His performances in the 2021 season helped his team to their first Super Bowl since 1989, and although they lost out to the LA Rams, the Bengals will use their 2021 AFC success as the benchmark for future seasons
And in Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Burrow, the Bengals have a deadly duo that could well launch Cincinnati to future titles in the years to come. At the very least, you can be certain that Ja’Marr will continue to break NFL records.
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