DeSean William Jackson is an American football wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League. He played college football for the California Golden Bears, where he was recognized as a consensus All-American in 2006 and 2007.
He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft, and has also played for the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jackson has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times, and was the first player selected to the Pro Bowl at two different positions in the same year when he was named to the 2010 Pro Bowl as a wide receiver and return specialist.
Jackson was born in Los Angeles, California, and grew up in the Crenshaw estate. He attended Long Beach Polytechnic High school. Jackson became one of the top wide receiver recruits in the nation, with many collegiate football programs pursuing his services. DeSean was named the 2004 Glen Davis Award winner by the Los Angeles Times as Southern California’s player of the year. He also ran track and played baseball and was scouted by both the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies in his senior year.
To cap off his high school career, Jackson was voted the Most Valuable Player at the U.S Army all-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, where he caught seven passes for 141 yards and passed for a 45-yard touchdown in leading the West to a 35–3 victory in a game that featured 80 of the nation’s top players. However, he was also involved in an embarrassing play when he attempted to somersault from the five-yard line for a touchdown, but landed on the one-yard line, leaving the football there. ESPN.com‘s Tom Lemming rated him as the number four wide receiver in the country, Prepstar Magazine named him an All-American and a member of its Dream Team.
Jackson attended the University of California, where he played for the California Golden Bears football team from 2005 to 2007. Wearing the number 1, in his first collegiate game against Sacramento State in 2005, he scored both an offensive and special teams touchdown, returning a punt 49 yards for a score. Throughout his freshman season, Jackson picked up 38 receptions for 601 yards along with seven touchdowns, eclipsing the 100-yard mark three times.
Coming into his sophomore year with high expectations, Jackson displayed more of his talent and playmaking ability, tallying 1,060 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Jackson also returned four punts for touchdowns. He earned first-team All-Pac-10 honours as both a punt returner and a wide receiver. Jackson garnered national recognition with selections to first-team All-America.
Jackson entered his junior season being considered a Heisman Trophy candidate. His season began promisingly, with a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown against Tennessee in the opening game of the season. He finished the 2007 season with 65 catches for 762 yards, and scored six touchdowns as a receiver. Jackson was named an All-American as a return specialist. DeSean suffered several minor injuries that limited his effectiveness at times during the season, along with a right thigh injury that forced him to miss most of the game against Washington and the Big Game against Stanford.
Jackson left Cal following the 2007 season and declared for the 2008 NFL Draft.
On April 26, 2008, Jackson was drafted in the second round (49th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He was the seventh wide receiver taken, the first time no wide receivers were drafted in the first round. On July 20, he agreed to terms on a four-year contract with the team.
Jackson had a good preseason performance, which included a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown against the New England Patriots in the third preseason game. After the Eagles’ roster was cut to its maximum 53-man limit for the season, he was listed as the starting punt returner and as a second-string wide receiver.
Due to injuries sustained by Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown, Jackson was the first rookie to start opening day for head coach Andy Reid. On September 7, Jackson collected six catches for 106 yards in a 38–3 win over the St. Louis Rams. He also returned eight punts for a total of 97 yards, including a 60-yard punt return to set up a field goal. He had over 200 all-purpose yards, a record for a rookie wide receiver. During a Monday Night Football game against the Dallas Cowboys on September 15, Jackson celebrated prematurely before running into the end zone by flipping the football behind him at the one-yard line. This led to what would have otherwise been his first NFL touchdown to be challenged and overturned, with Brian Westbrook running in for a touchdown from the one-yard line on the next play.
Jackson signed with the Washington Redskins to a reported three-year, $24 million contract with $16 million guaranteed, on April 2, 2014. On the NFL’s Network Top 100 Players of 2014, Jackson was voted the 63rd best player (overall) in the league by his peers.
Jackson suffered a bruised left shoulder against the Jacksonville Jaguars and was forced to leave the game in the first half. Despite the injury, he would play the following week against Eagles in his return to Philadelphia. In the game, he scored an 81-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins. The jersey that Jackson wore in that game would be featured at the Pro Football Hall of Fame after he became the third player in NFL history to record an 80-yard touchdown both for and against a team. On October 17, 2014, Jackson was fined $16,537 for a horse-collar tackle on Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson in Week 6. Jackson broke 100-yards receiving in six games that season, and ended with 56 receptions for a team-leading 1,169 and 6 touchdowns, and led the NFL for the second time in his career with 20.9 yards per catch.
Jackson signed a three-year, $33.5 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on March 9, 2017. On September 24, Jackson caught his first touchdown as a Buccaneer against the Minnesota Vikings. October 5, Jackson caught five passes for 106 yards in a 19-14 loss against the New England Patriots. Overall, in the 2017 season, he recorded 50 receptions for 668 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns.
On March 13, 2019, Jackson and a 2020 seventh-round selection were traded to the Eagles in exchange for a 2019 sixth-round compensatory selection, used to draft Scot Miller. Jackson made his return to the Eagles in Week 1 against another former team, the Washington Redskins. In the game, Jackson caught 8 passes for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Eagles won 32-27. The 2 touchdowns he scored during the game put him at 31 career touchdowns over 50 yards, passing Randy Moss’ 29, putting Jackson at 2nd in NFL history. He underwent core muscle surgery on November 5, and was subsequently placed on injured reserves.
Jackson signed with the Los Angeles Rams on March 21, 2021.
Jackson is the son of Bill and Gayle Jackson, and his oldest brother, Byron, is a former San Jose State wide receiver who spent two seasons on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad. His father was hospitalized with pancreatic cancer during the Eagles run in the 2009 playoffs, and died on May 14, 2009. He currently resides in Moorestown, New Jersey. He was featured on the cover of the PS2 version of NCAA Football09. Jackson took part and won a competition of Hole in the Wall in April 2011.
Jackson has also received media attention for plays that critics say show poor judgement on his part, and in particular, multiple premature celebrations which have resulted in lost touchdowns.
In July 2020, Jackson posted an Instagram story featuring a quote falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler, reading: “because the white Jews knows that the Negroes are the real Children of Israel and to keep Americas secret the Jews will blackmail America. They will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were”. The post also read “Hitler was right.”